YouTube and Search continue to make Alphabet tons of money

All your PlayStation 5 and Xbox searches probably helped.

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Cherlynn Low
February 2nd, 2021
A view of Google logo on a Google building GRCQ1 in Dublin's Grand Canal area.
On Friday, 29 January, 2021, in Dublin, Ireland. (Photo by Artur Widak/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
NurPhoto via Getty Images

Google parent company Alphabet has released its fourth quarter and fiscal year 2020 results and the numbers are staggering. The company made $56.9 billion in the quarter that ended on December 31st, which is a 23 percent increase over the $46.1 billion it recorded last year. Chief financial officer Ruth Porat said in a statement that the revenue was “driven by Search and YouTube, as consumer and business activity recovered from earlier in the year.”

This continues a trend of revenue growth that we saw last quarter, when Alphabet reported earning $46.2 billion compared to the $40.5 billion from the same period in 2019. Of this quarter’s $56.9 billion made, $52.9 billion came from Google Services, $3.8 billion from Google Cloud while $196 million was made from the Other Bets division. In total, Alphabet made $182.5 billion in 2020.

In the fourth quarter of 2020, “Google Search & Other” revenues totaled $31.9 billion, while YouTube ads raked in $6.9 billion. In a call with press and investors this afternoon, CEO Sundar Pichai recapped some of the company’s latest announcements. These include a redesigned Google Pay app, a multi-year partnership between Android Auto and Ford, new Maps features and finally closing its acquisition of Fitbit. Earnings from Fitbit will from now on be disclosed within the Google Other segment, Porat said during the call.

On YouTube, Pichai said the company has seen two important trends: live video and short form media. He said that more than half a million channels livestreamed on YouTube for the first time last year, and that videos in the new Shorts player are receiving three and a half billion daily views.

Though Alphabet saw a dip in its revenue in the second quarter of 2020 due to the pandemic, it has clearly bounced back with strong performance. Porat said “we are very pleased with our exceptional fourth quarter performance after an unprecedented year.”

According to chief business officer Philip Schindler, “after a substantial pullback at the outset of the pandemic, brand spending began to recover in the third quarter.” He added that “we saw significant acceleration of brand spending on YouTube Network revenues in the fourth quarter.” Clearly, YouTube continues to get plenty of views and advertisers are keen to put their brands in front of all those eyeballs.

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