YouTube’s ‘booming community’ helps boost Alphabet

Sundar Pichai

Sundar Pichai

YouTube’s “booming community of creators” helped to grow parent company Alphabet’s revenues by 22% year-on-year in Q4 2016.

Announcing its fourth quarter results, Alphabet said revenues were up 24% on a constant currency basis, reaching US$26.06 billion (€24.3 billion). Net income grew from US$4.92 billion in Q4 2015 to US$5.33 billion in Q4 2016.

“This performance was led by mobile search and YouTube. We’re seeing great momentum in Google’s newer investment areas and ongoing strong progress in other bets,” said Alphabet’s chief finance officer, Ruth Porat.

Speaking on the company’s earnings call, Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai described YouTube as the “premier destination” for online video globally and said it is seeing “tremendous growth”.

“At the heart of YouTube’s success is its booming community of creators. Every single day over 1,000 creators reach the milestone of having 1,000 channel subscribers,” he revealed.

Pichai said that the company is focused on two main areas of investment for YouTube: creating the best video experience that is “fast, personalised, searchable and that just works”; and delivering content that gives fans “exactly what they want through offerings like YouTube Music, YouTube Kids and YouTube Red”.

Alphabet has launched subscription service YouTube Red in five countries to date and Pichai said that it plans to “invest more – more countries, more original content”.

“We are seeing traction with the rate of signups. We are not disclosing specific numbers but I’m excited at the progress there.”

Asked specifically about plans to do deals with premium content providers, Pichai added: “We think of YouTube again as an ecosystem. We are trying to connect creators with users, form a community, and so we work hard to bring more premium content.”

Earlier this month, YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki said in a company blog post that more than 1,000 YouTube content creators reached a million subscribers last year, more than double the 2015 figure.

She also said that YouTube would ramp up its YouTube Originals production output and expand YouTube Red into more markets following its US debut in 2015.