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."