Tech

Google parent Alphabet began sharing YouTube revenue after SEC request

Key Points
  • Alphabet began disclosing revenue for its YouTube video service this year.
  • U.S. securities regulators had asked the Google parent to give more "quantitative and qualitative" data on the business. 
  • Offering detailed YouTube and cloud data for the first time last month, Alphabet said YouTube ad revenue grew 31% in the fourth quarter compared with last year and the cloud business grew 53%.
Workers set up the booth for Alphabet Inc's Google inside the National Exhibition and Convention Center, the venue for the upcoming China International Import Expo (CIIE), in Shanghai, China, October 28, 2018.
China Daily | Reuters

Alphabet began disclosing revenue for its YouTube video service this year after U.S. securities regulators asked the Google parent to give more "quantitative and qualitative" data on the business, according to filings released Monday.

Alphabet's Chief Accounting Officer Amie Thuener O'Toole wrote to the United States Securities and Exchange Commission on Dec. 20 saying that in response to comment from SEC staff, "We will separately disclose YouTube advertising revenues" even though "there have been no significant changes to our advertising business," according to one regulatory filing.

The letter followed a comment from the SEC's corporate finance division last October, asking the company to revise its quarterly filings to provide more detailed information on key business units, according to another filing.

"We note that YouTube, mobile search and desktop search have experienced different growth and monetization rates and enjoy different margins," the SEC staff wrote. "As such, they represent significant subdivisions or components of Google properties revenues that should be discussed separately to allow investors to view the company through the eyes of management."

The SEC declined to comment on the filings on Monday.

Google did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

In the Dec. 20 letter, Thuener O'Toole also wrote that Alphabet also would disclose the growth of Google Cloud revenues "although we do not believe it is currently a required disclosure."

Offering detailed YouTube and cloud data for the first time last month, Alphabet said YouTube ad revenue grew 31% in the fourth quarter compared with last year and the cloud business grew 53%.

Thuener O'Toole's letter said the company did not view separating out ad revenue by mobile or desktop as meaningful because it generally does not sell ads by device type.

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