A recent report from eMarketer says that YouTube is expected to earn more than $US5.6 billion in gross revenue by the end of 2014.
While that number is certainly impressive in its own right — it’s a 51% jump from last year — it’s especially so when matched up against the longstanding traditional TV networks YouTube is competing against for viewers and advertising dollars.
For comparison, let’s take a look at everyone’s favourite trendy cable broadcaster, AMC Networks. The company owns AMC, IFC, WE tv, and Sundance Channel, as well as the IFC Films studios. In its last reported quarter, AMC Networks had about $US395 million in revenues, which would total about $US1.6 billion in net revenue over the course of a year.
That would make Google’s YouTube revenues about 3.5 times greater than what the home of hit shows like Breaking Bad and Walking Dead is pulling in.
YouTube’s revenues would also put it at about half the size of cable giant ESPN, which is expected to take in about $US10 billion in revenue in 2013. What’s fascinating, though, is that about $US6.5 billion of that number comes entirely from cable subscription fees, the amount of money ESPN makes from cable providers for every subscriber who gets the channel. It’s advertising business, on the other hand brings in just $US3.5 billion.
As for how the video sharing site stacks up against one of the grand, old, giants of the television industry? NBC’s broadcast and cable divisions — which include properties such as MSNBC, USA Network, and Bravo — posted revenues of $US3.8 billion for this past quarter, which would work out to $US15.2 billion over the course of a year.
The figure is certainly much larger than the $US5.6 billion YouTube is working with, but not enough to make the eight-year-old video-sharing site look like the guppy you’d expect when compared with a company that has been broadcasting video since 1931.
In short, YouTube’s advertising business is starting to bring it on par with some of the biggest players in television. Though it’s not quite on the same level as stalwarts like ESPN and NBC, its undeniable that at its current size, YouTube would be a player you’d heard of if it were in the business of cable TV.
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