How much money does YouTube make? It is a secret: Alphabet Inc., which owns YouTube, does not break out revenue for it separately. Alphabet’s Form 10-K gets as granular as “Google properties revenue,” meaning advertising revenue from Google search, Gmail, Google Maps, YouTube and other Google properties; that was US$95.4 billion in 2017. If 10 per cent of that — a number that I just made up — came from YouTube, then YouTube had more revenue than almost half of the companies in the S&P 500 index.
But it is also a secret from Alphabet Chief Executive Officer Larry Page, or rather, it’s something he doesn’t care about very much:
The SEC on Monday published correspondence between Alphabet and U.S. regulators that seeks to understand the company’s reasoning for its approach to financial reporting. Through nearly half a year of back-and-forth, one theme is prevalent: Who knows about YouTube revenue, and when do they find out?