YouTube was profitable off $3.5 billion in revenue generated in 2013, according to a report from The Information.

Google owns YouTube, but the company has never specified the streaming service’s revenue figures within either its quarterly or annual earnings reports. The $3.5 billion figure is also anywhere from a tad to a lot lower than analysts predictions. For instance, eMarketer estimated that YouTube would generate $5.6 billion in ad revenue for 2013.

For perspective, Netflix — the only other streaming video service that can match YouTube in terms of usage (but not business models) — generated more than $4 billion in revenue last year. But YouTube also doesn’t generate all its money from premium content like Netflix, and that might be the biggest factor in the differences in revenue between YouTube and other video services (and/or media companies).

But according to The Information’s report YouTube also turned a profit, so perhaps the service isn’t in trouble but it’s certainly not making as much as it could. That could be part of why Google promoted  Susan Wojcicki to head up YouTube earlier this year, and why rumors are floating around that Google wants to acquire the highly active video livestreaming service Twitch for $1 billion.


VB's research team is studying web-personalization... Chime in here, and we’ll share the results.