YouTube still isn’t a profitable business for Google, sources tell The Wall Street Journal’s Rolfe Winkler.
Thanks to a premium ads push last year called “Google Preferred,” the video-streaming increased its revenue to $US4 billion in 2014 from $US3 billion in 2013, but it’s still only roughly breaking even.
YouTube’s main problem is that people generally only watch its videos when they’re embedded in other sites.
Instead, Google wants people to start coming to YouTube’s homepage in the same way they would turn on the TV — expecting that they will find consistently high-quality content on different channels.
That’s why the company has poured big bucks into helping its original content creators, like Michelle Phan, Bethany Moto, and Epic Rap Battles of History, build their followings and create better videos. The company also redesigned its homepage and tried to improve its video recommendation to hook users into staying longer.
But “people close to YouTube say the site still struggles to attract users directly, rather than via links,” Winkler reports.
To help boost revenue, though, the company plans to roll out more auto-play videos and a new way to target ads using Google search data, Winklers sources say.