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Summary:

While YouTube wasn’t a big topic of discussion during Google’s fourth quarter earnings call, CFO Patrick Pichette let slip that revenues grew at the online video site more than doubled in 2010. There’s still no word on whether or not YouTube is profitable, though.

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Most of Google’s earnings call was overshadowed by the news of CEO Eric Schmidt’s imminent departure — so much so that online video site YouTube didn’t come up during the Q&A session. And while Google typically doesn’t break out financials for the online video site, CFO Patrick Pichette snuck in a little tidbit of information about YouTube at the very end of the call, saying that the unit’s revenue had more than doubled during 2010.

For those keeping track at home, that kind of revenue growth is pretty fantastic, but not terribly surprising. After all, YouTube serves more than 2 billion videos a day, including more than 100 million a day on mobile devices. And the site has very aggressively ramped up advertising over the past year, placing more ads against partner videos and those that run on mobile devices.

Pichette didn’t state revenue numbers, but doubling growth is not totally out of line with previous analyst projections. Barclay’s Capital analyst Doug Anmuth estimated that YouTube pulled in $450 million in revenues during 2009. While Anmuth’s forecast last January called for 55 percent growth, others were less conservative. Last March, Citigroup analyst Mark Mahaney estimated that YouTube would generate nearly $1 billion in sales for the full year.

While doubling revenue is a plus, it’s important to note that Pichette said nothing about YouTube’s profitability. The question of when the online video site would finally turn a profit has been much debated over the past several years. Despite forecasts early last year that YouTube could become profitable in 2010, it seems that the unit — which Google paid $1.65 billion for back in 2006 — still isn’t in the black.

Coincidentally, the Google call was hosted on YouTube and suffered from some pretty dramatic stuttering and lag, which is surprising in part because it was audio-only.

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  1. hard to believe a web video service has a $1B operating budget, i.e. isn’t profitable on $1B in revenue.

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  2. [...] has yet to turn a profit. On Google’s first quarter earnings call, the company reported that YouTube revenues more than doubled in 2010, and according to one analyst, the site is expected to produce $1.3 billion in revenues this year. [...]

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