February 16, 2018

Google could be about to place a valuation on YouTube

By Jack Rear

Despite being one of the cornerstones of the internet, YouTube does not currently have a public valuation.

Alphabet, the parent company of both Google and YouTube has never revealed how much YouTube is worth since it acquired the site in 2006. That’s pretty surprising since, according to Alexa rankings, YouTube is the second most visited site on the entire internet.

Still, it’s not entirely out of character for Alphabet. The company also doesn’t disclose the figures for Google Cloud, a rapidly expanding part of their cloud services division.

Due to this level of secrecy, R.W. Baird analyst Colin Sebastian suggests Alphabet as a whole could be undervalued. Speaking to reporters on Thursday, Sebastian suggested YouTube could be worth as much as $15bn in advertising revenue in 2018. To lend some context, Netflix’s recent earnings report showed it made $11.6bn in 2017.

If Alphabet was to release valuations for YouTube and Google Cloud, it could see its total valuations rocket. That’s exactly what happened to Amazon in 2015 when it released the valuation for Amazon Web Services; a cloud-based infrastructure technology which is actually one of Amazon’s biggest profit-drivers.

What was said:

Speaking about the possibly of Alphabet valuing YouTube and Google Cloud, Sebastian said:

If you recall when Amazon disclosed its AWS numbers, the stock ripped in part because you could actually assign a value to that business.

Our view is that Google will provide a YouTube number, if not this year, then likely next year. Maybe they will be required to by disclosure rules — but they may want that AWS moment in which the market can assign a … multiple to YouTube.

YouTube is probably a $15bn business, and yet they don’t disclose that number.

Background:

YouTube might be undisclosed financially, it has still become a content giant.

According to figures from YouTube itself, almost a third of internet users use the service. That’s a total of over a billion users.

As of February 2017, the site receives uploads of over 400 hours of video content to the site each minute. The total daily consumption of videos is around one billion hours per day.

And for those who do post content to YouTube, the platform can be a huge earner. Many ‘YouTubers’ earn multi-millions just from advertising revenue on the website. At the end of 2017, Forbes estimated how much ten of the top YouTubers made from ad revenue.

YouTube’s highest earners of 2017: