Displaying items by tag: YouTube
Google earnings hit by ‘significant slowdown’ in ad sales
Google parent Alphabet has reported a slowdown in first-quarter revenue growth, as the Covid-19 pandemic led to a drop in advertising on the search engine from March. Revenues rose 13 percent year-on-year to USD 41.2 billion, down from 17 percent annual growth a year earlier and in Q4.
The US giant exceeded dim earnings expectations, showing higher revenue and profits despite a coronavirus-induced slowdown in its core advertising operations. Alphabet shares leapt more than eight percent in after-hours trades following release of earnings figures that eased fears the pandemic would stall the internet firm's income engine.
Alphabet reported a profit of $6.8 billion in the first three months of the year, up nearly three percent from last year, on revenue that grew 13 percent to $41 billion. The Silicon Valley giant, the first of the big technology firms to report quarterly results, offered a mixed picture: a strong start to the year followed by an abrupt slowdown in advertising in March and some tentative signs the worst may be over.
Chief financial officer Ruth Porat pointed to "very early signs of recovery in commercial search behavior by users" but added that "it is not clear how durable or monetizable this behavior will be."
Still, the report showed one of the major tech firms weathering the crisis and seeing some hopeful signs in advertising, which represents the lion's share of Alphabet revenue and is closely tied to economic conditions.
"In a quarter of bad news, this was really good news," said analyst Rob Enderle of Enderle Group, who predicted improvement in the digital ad market in May and June.
Baird analyst Colin Sebastian expected the current quarter to be "the bottom" of an online advertising trough at Alphabet, while noting growth in its YouTube and cloud computing revenues.
"This is probably exactly what technology needed at a time when many suspected FANG/Tech could be rolling over," Mark Newton of Newton Advisors said in a tweet, referring to the acronym for the big tech firms Facebook, Amazon, Netflix and Google.
Alphabet executives remained cautious in their outlook, noting that the company is cutting back on hiring, marketing, office expansion and other expenses while continuing to invest in promising long-term trends like companies moving more aggressively to services hosted in the internet cloud.
"It is now clear that once the emergency has passed, the world will not look the same," Alphabet-Google chief Sundar Pichai said during an earnings call.
"Some social norms will change, and many businesses are speaking to us looking to reinvent their operations."
Google services, data centers, and software capabilities are positioned to help with trends in online education, healthcare, entertainment, and shopping likely to continue after the pandemic has ended, according to Pichai.
Overall ad revenues for Google rose 10 percent for the quarter despite the pandemic's worsening in March.
YouTube's ad revenue was up about a third to $4 billion as people turned to online entertainment while they hunkered down at home to avoid the coronavirus.
The pandemic has disrupted operations at tech powerhouses known themselves for disrupting traditional business models.
Fewer people are buying new smartphones; more people are online and using social platforms but online advertising is slumping; cloud computing needs are growing; and more consumers are relying on delivery of essential goods from Amazon.
Along with other tech firms, Google has been highlighting its role in helping consumers and authorities in the battle against COVID-19.
Pichai said that "we've marshaled our resources" to assist people during the crisis.
"Given the depth of the challenges so many are facing, it's a huge privilege to be able to help at this time," he said.
Google has teamed up with longtime rival Apple to develop technology for coronavirus smartphone "contact tracing" by allowing devices from the two platforms to communicate and indicate when people have crossed paths with an infected person.
YouTube said it began adding fact-check panels to search results in the US for videos on hot-topic claims shown to be bogus.
The report showed revenue rose 26 percent to $170 million for Alphabet's "other bets" which include the Waymo self-driving car project, Wing drone delivery and Verily life sciences. But these "moonshot" projects produced a collective operating loss of $1.1 billion.
Alphabet shares fourth quarter earnings, YouTube revenue revealed
Google’s parent company, Alphabet, reported its fourth-quarter and full-year financial results. The company’s revenue grew from $39.3 billion in 2018 to $46.1 billion in 2019. The firm’s net income also expanded from $8.9 billion to $10.7 billion over the same time frame.
However, the figures, when compared to expectation, were mixed. Alphabet missed revenue expectations in the fourth quarter despite stellar growth at YouTube and in the cloud, earnings figures showed.
Detailing its cloud computing and YouTube revenues for the first time, Alphabet reported that profits rose 19 percent from a year ago in the quarter to nearly $10.7 billion as revenues increased 17 percent to $46 billion.
The company said its cloud computing services took in $2.6 billion in revenue during the last three-month period, up more than 50 percent and nearly $9 billion for the year.
Alphabet and Google chief executive Sundar Pichai touted YouTube as a revenue star at the company, with ad revenue reaching $15 billion last year in an increase of about 36 percent from 2018. YouTube music and television premium services now have more than 20 million paid subscribers, according to Pichai.
Despite assurances by executives that Alphabet sees plenty of money-making potential ahead and is investing to capitalize on long-term trends, Alphabet shares slipped more than four percent in after-market trades that followed release of the earnings figures.
The California tech giant, which dominates online search and makes the Android mobile operating system, has been working to reduce its dependence on the digital advertising which delivers most of its cash.
"Our investments in deep computer science, including artificial intelligence, ambient computing and cloud computing, provide a strong base for continued growth and new opportunities across Alphabet," said Pichai.
Chief financial officer Ruth Porat said Alphabet will ramp-up hiring this year. Much of that will be engineering talent for its cloud division which competes with cloud market-leaders Amazon and Microsoft.
"We are leaning into investing for long-term growth," Porat said. "That has been a key principle here and continues to be," she added.
Google advertising took in the majority of revenue at $38 billion in the quarter, and more than 80 percent of its annual revenues of $162 billion. Colin Sebastian, an analyst at Baird, said the earnings report showed "a deceleration" in growth for Google, which may have been due to the impact of fewer holiday shopping days.
Analyst Nicole Perrin at eMarketer said the results highlight the significance of YouTube, the popular video service for which Alphabet had not up to now disclosed financial data.
"This is something investors have been looking for, but the information should also give advertisers valuable information about the importance of YouTube as a digital ad vehicle," Perrin said.
"YouTube is growing strongly according to this report, and revenues are above where eMarketer had thought they were."
Social media platforms under fire following New Zealand terror attack
Social media platforms such as Facebook, YouTube and Twitter are facing scrutiny following the horrific terrorist attack in New Zealand.
Netflix nears 100 million subscribers globally; misses analyst predictions
Netflix is reaching a major milestone in its history. The subscription-based video-streaming platform added five million new subscribers globally in the first quarter of 2017, which brings its total subscriber base to about 99 million users. However, the company missed Wall Street and analyst subscription predictions.
“We expect to cross the 100 million member mark this weekend,” said Netflix in a letter to shareholders on Monday April 17. “It’s a good start.”
Netflix CEO Reed Hastings pointed out that Netflix still has a way to go to be ranked among the likes of YouTube and Facebook which boast over a billion users globally. “Our viewing is very large and growing, but nowhere near as big as YouTube,” said Hastings. “We definitely have YouTube envy.”
In order to keep growing as a company, Netflix says it will implement a significant marketing strategy, spending more than $1 billion this year to “drive member acquisition.” The company reached a decision to launch in almost every country in the world and invest heavily in original content to increase its subscriber base.
Netflix original shows such as The Crown, Black Mirror and the Marvel series have been a success for the platform. The company has also invested in exclusive deals with international stars such as Shah Rukh Khan and Adam Sandler to maintain its appeal.
However, Netflix is said to have “disappointed” Wall Street by missing its subscriber forecast. For the quarter ended 31 March, Netflix claimed 98.75 million streaming video subscribers globally, adding 4.95 million new members in the three-month period. But this missed analyst estimates of 5.27 million and its own guidance of 5.2 million. New domestic subscribers for Netflix came in at 1.42 million, versus Wall Street forecasts of 1.59 million, and Netflix’s own guidance of 1.5 million.
Missing the targets has some investors feeling nervous. However, the company did see a 35 percent year-on-year increase in revenue to reach $2.64 billion in this first quarter, which did meet expectations, and EPS was $0.40 per share, which was above the $0.37 that analysts predicted. Wall Street had been modeling for Netflix to earn 24 cents a share excluding items on sales of $2.76 billion.
US telco's suspend digital advertising on Google over ‘extremist’ content
US telecommunications companies AT&T and Verizon Communications Inc. have publicly announced that they have suspended their digital advertising campaigns on Google. It has been reported that they've suspended their respective campaigns on Google's YouTube platform due to their suspicion that their adverts may have appeared next to extremist videos on the popular platform. In addition to this, both organizations have also suspended advertising on other platforms not related to search over similar concerns.
However, the American telco's are not the first established brand to terminate their advertising contract with the global search engine – a number of British brands including Marks and Spencer Group Plc deserted Alphabet Inc. Google. The US multinational corporation is under fire from brands and politicians in Europe who are angered by adverts appearing alongside videos on its YouTube platform which has carried homophobic or anti-Semitic sentiment.
The company has moved swiftly to issue a statement in which it vowed to review and initiate an overhaul of all its practices. Analysts have urged the global search engine to do so immediately in an effort to prevent them losing more high-profile advertisers. Google faces an inevitable short-term loss of revenue and a long-term danger that if major corporations lose faith they will choose to dispense of their advertising spend somewhere else. Google has built its global empire on automated placement of adverts.
Jan Dawson, of Jackdaw Research said, "The bigger risk is this seems to be a backlash against programmatic advertising in general. There's this worry that you no longer have control over where ads appear."
In a statement issued by AT&T – the telco colossus said it was removing adverts from Google because their adverts could've appeared alongside YouTube content which promoted terrorism and hate. Verizon echoed the sentiments of its rivals by saying their adverts were appearing on 'non-sanctioned' website. However, they declared that they had only suspended advertising on Google's non-search platforms.
Google declined to comment on individual customers but said it has begun a review of its advertising policies. The news that AT&T and Verizon were suspending Google ads was first reported by Britain's Times newspaper.
YouTube challenges Facebook and Twitter’s on the go live-streaming appeal
Google-owned YouTube recently began allowing popular online video personalities to broadcast on the go using mobile devices, which challenges Facebook and Twitter’s live-streaming appeal. For about six years YouTube has supported live video streaming through computers, even broadcasting US presidential debates online.
The company has now moved into online portable device streaming, allowing YouTube content creators whose channels have more than 10,000 subscribers to broadcast through apps tailored for mobile devices such as smartphones, says product managers Barbara Macdonald and Kurt Wilms.
“It’s a launch that’ll put the power of live streaming in the hands of hundreds of thousands of talented creators, giving them a more intimate and spontaneous way to share their thoughts, lives and creativity,” said Macdonald and Wilms in a blog post. They said YouTube will launch the feature more broadly soon.
YouTube now challenges social media giants Facebook and Twitter that both already have added such capabilities to their mobile platforms. However, YouTube has added a financial incentive in the form of “Super Chat”, a toll that enables online video stars to generate revenue from fans willing to pay to “stand out from the crowd” by having their chat messages highlighted in bright colors and pinned to the top of text conversations.
Macdonald and Wilms said Super Chat “is like playing for that front-row seat in the digital age.”
Facebook began testing its live audio streaming service in December that will enable users to broadcast radio-style segments on the social network. The new tool came as an alternative to the Facebook Live tool that lets people stream live video to Facebook.
An audio-streaming option promised to be useful in areas where telecommunication networks have trouble handling the larger data demands of video streaming.
Mobile search and YouTube behind Alphabet Google’s strong profits
California-based Alphabet, parent company of Google, reported strong profit growth on Thursday, 26 January, for the final three months of 2016. The company saw its profits rise on growth in mobile search and its video-sharing service YouTube. Google remains as Alphabet’s majority operating unit and advertising is still the company’s main source of profit.
According to Alphabet its net income increased eight percent to $5.3 billion, which wasn’t as high as industry predictions on Wall Street, despite better-than-expected revenue. For earnings purposes, Alphabet categorizes operations such as self-driving cars and Nest smart thermostats into an “Other Bets” category, which almost doubled revenue to $262 million in the quarter, but still posted a loss of nearly $1.1 billion.
Alphabet’s revenue in the final quarter of last year reached $26 billion, up 22 percent from the same period the previous year. However, the company’s shares dropped more than two percent to $838 in after-market trade that followed the release of the earnings figures.
Alphabet chief financial officer Ruth Porat said in a release, “Our growth in the fourth quarter was exceptional,” crediting mobile search and YouTube which drove the high performance. “We’re seeing great momentum in Google’s newer investment areas and ongoing strong progress in Other Bets.”
Alphabet, under its new structure, is said to be expanding beyond its role as a search engine that provides advertising linked to queries. The company last year leveled up to its rivals Apple, Samsung and Amazon by pushing into hardware, launching premium-priced, in-house designed artificial intelligence products.
Google also revealed its new "home assistant" which aims to compete with Amazon's Alexa-powered devices as a hub for the smart home, and has been working to become the platform for some connected cars. During an earnings call, Google chief executive Sundar Pichai said he is deeply involved with the company’s push into artificial intelligence, believing there is a lot of potential in digital assistance to make services such as mobile search more helpful to users.
“In the long run, I think we will evolve from a mobile first to an AI first world,” said Pichai. “We are at the forefront and pushing and pushing hard and getting there.” According to Porat, the bulk of the money taken in came from "Other Bets" came from Nest, Verily, and a Fiber unit building super-fast internet lines in select US cities.
It was recently announced that Singapore-based sovereign based fund Temasek will invest $800 million in Verily, the Alphabet subsidiary focused on healthcare. The infusion of cash, for which Temasek will get a minority stake, comes as Verily works to bring some of its creations to market. Verily was known as Google Life Sciences but rebranded after the internet giant became Alphabet in a corporate restructuring.
Verily specializes in applying technology to problems in health and biology. Among the ideas discussed has been building a sickness-sensing diagnostic device along the lines of the "tricorder" seen in "Star Trek" science fiction films and television shows.
YouTube selects Dubai for its latest content creator hotspot facility
YouTube have chosen Dubai to open its tenth space which further illustrates the success the online video platform is enjoying in the MENA and UAE region. The Google owned company has expanded its business from funny cat video, to a broadcaster in its own right - producing high-quality shows that range from anything such as fitness experts uploading their fitness regimes - to culinary enthusiasts sharing their recipes for tasty meals.
Dubai will now get its very own YouTube state-of-the-art studio which will be opened next year. It follows on from the success of a content creator facility which was opened in London. The decision by management to select Dubai represents just how successful YouTube is in the MENA region. According to a YouTube spokesman the MENA region is second only to the US when it comes to the total amount of time spent watching videos. Watch time in the region has grown by 60% on year.
The MENA region also has one of the highest smartphone and internet penetration in the world and more and more people are watching videos on their phones – with YouTube revealing that mobile watch time grew by 90% in the Middle East in the last twelve months alone – whilst advertisers are also becoming savvy to its marketing potential – with the top twenty brands in the Middle East using the platform to market its products and services, increasing its spending by 65% in the process.
The Head of YouTube partnerships in MENA, Diana Baddar said: “The MENA region has one of the world’s most vibrant YouTube communities. There’s tons of excitement around YouTube because talented creators are producing content for passionate audiences. It’s a great opportunity for brands because on YouTube people choose what they want to watch and what they want to engage with, which is more interesting for brands. More and more creators are collaborating with brands.”
Content created for and by women has also significantly increased in the Middle East and is a growth area. YouTube are encouraging this in an effort to drive its strategy which is focused on creating more local content. The reason for this is primarily down to the success local content has had on the channel. Last year, all of the top ten videos in the region were by local female creators.
Ms. Baddar added: “Female content is one of the most promising content verticals on the platform. It’s growing as fast as TV content on the platform. A few years ago, we had very few female related channels, today there are thousands of them, and we are expecting that trend to continue to grow moving forward.”
The 2017 launch of the new content creator facility in Dubai will boost what YouTube calls the ‘creator ecosystem’ by providing creators with facilities and technical assistance, and by giving them a base from where they can network and collaborate with other creators, meet clients and attend workshops where they can develop their expertise.
Ms. Baddar concluded by saying: “We are happy to have our first space in Dubai, a place of vibrant creativity from fashion to technology and entertainment. YouTube is a home for all this content. We want to give opportunities to get hands-on experience from industry leaders, connect and meet fellow creators, spark new ideas and share experiences on how to succeed on YouTube.”
Facebook, Twitter, Microsoft and YouTube unite to combat online “terrorist content”
Leading U.S. technology companies Facebook, Twitter, Microsoft and Google-owned YouTube announced on Monday, December 5, that they have united to combat online “terrorist content” spread by jihadist propaganda. The tech giants have united to stop the proliferation of videos and messages showing beheadings, executions and other offensive content posted online by extremist groups.
Major social media companies are facing increasing scrutiny over the influence that they hold over people, and questions have been raised about whether they should bear the responsibility of the spread of ‘fake news’, online bullying, and hate speech. Platforms like Facebook and Twitter have found themselves in a difficult situation in the past few years: eager to promote free speech, but trying to avoid the spread of violence or hate.
But now that violence and hatred spread by extremist groups online has reached tipping point, the tech giants have finally united to take a stand. Social media platforms have been used by jihadist groups for example, to recruit and also depict violent attacks online. The companies making a stand against this jointly said in a statement, “There is no place for content that promotes terrorism on our hosted consumer services.”
The statement made by the join tech giants did not, however, specify what type of technology would be used to combat the spread of hatred and propaganda online. They did indicate that it would be on a shared industry database of “hashes” or digital fingerprints that identify jihadist content, AFP reports.
James Lewis, a senior fellow who follows technology and security issues at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, told AFP that social media has reached a turning point, and can no longer claim to be "neutral platforms." "They can't evade responsibility anymore," Lewis said. "Terrorist content is only the start. Now they have to figure what to do about hate speech, racism and bullying."
TV is still popular with millennials according to U.S. study
Millennials are technology natives, and have a sea of options when it comes to viewing digital content. But even though streaming content online has taken the world by storm, a U.S. study says more adults aged 18-34 watch TV now than they did at the start of the millennium, suggesting that TV isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.
The study, conducted by the Video Advertising Bureau, says branded TV content, accessed across screens, is still its most popular form of digital viewing. The study says more millennials continue to watch television, where the majority of video consumption takes place than any platform or device. The reason TV remains popular with millennials, the report found, is because TV continually creates moments that transcend the viewing experience and generates a social atmosphere.
The results of the study are similar to one conducted among Mexican millennials. The study reports that even though millennials are taking to streaming content online, they spend more time with TV brands than with any other site across a wide variety of internet genres. One of the most surprising findings of the study is that many millennials are consuming more TV content than they are checking Facebook or watching YouTube videos. That’s why millennial-focused TV shows deliver higher audiences and engagement than most popular personality-driven YouTube channels.