Google parent Alphabet surprised investors with stronger-than-expected fourth-quarter 2019 results, especially from advertising revenues, and from YouTube within that. YouTube’s advertising revenues soared 33% to $4 billion.
That makes YouTube’s ad sales one of the company’s fastest-growing drivers, as total Google revenues grew 13% to $41.2 billion for the quarter.
The results are noteworthy heading into what looks like an especially questionable network TV upfront advertising sales season, as YouTube primarily is attracting brand advertising, most likely from traditional TV advertisers shifting budgets online, although the company maintains that "direct response" is one of its fastest-growing YouTube advertising segments.
“YouTube results were the quarter’s stand out,” Pivotal Research Group analyst Michael Levine commented in a note to investors this morning, adding: “This was far better than feared and we combine our views about TV advertising into the second half of 2020 and 2021, so we think the set-up is quite favorable.”
In an end note, Levine added that it's possible analysts are “are underestimating the power of the long-tail and the duration with which it can sustain durable growth.”
The so-called long-tail usually is used to describe small and mid-size businesses, the kind that many economists believe could be especially impacted by the effects of a protracted economic recession due to the COVID-19 pandemic.