June 25, 2012 at 3:02 PM ET
YouTube made a lot of headlines when it launched its original content channels — but it also is making a lot of money. More specifically, its revenue this year is expected to be twice the cost of the company back in 2006.
Mahaney said the role that YouTube plays at Google is underappreciated: It puts Google “squarely in the middle of one of the largest trends in advertising today — the migration online of TV/video ad budgets.” What’s remarkable for a company that’s been around since 2005 is that it’s managed to keep up massive growth: 20 percent year-over-year unique visitor growth and nearly 40 percent year-over-year growth in page views.
And then there’s the increasingly large role YouTube plays boosting Google’s bottom line. Mahaney estimates that YouTube is likely on track to generate more than $3.5 billion in revenue this year, for 50 percent year-over-year revenue growth. That’s more than double the revenue Mahaney had forecast last year. Putting that number in context: it’s about 50 percent more than Yahoo!’s total display ad revenue and in line with Netflix's total subscription revenue.
Though the vast majority of YouTube’s videos are user-generated content, advertisers are increasingly paying attention to the original programming YouTube is rolling out on its original channels. The likes of Jay-Z, Madonna, Ashton Kutcher and Lady Gaga, plus a number of TV producers, are putting together and curating channels — exactly the kind of professional content that advertisers feel comfortable with, along with the potential to reach many more people than even broadcast TV.