YouTube generated $3.5 billion in revenue for Google (S GOOG) in 2013, according to a report from the Information, which also states that the video service was profitable last year. However, that number is below analyst estimates, which put YouTube’s 2013 revenue anywhere from $5 billion to $5.6 billion.
Google has never broken out YouTube revenue, but it’s clear that the video service has become a key focus for future growth beyond the company’s core AdSense and display ad business. Former YouTube CEO Salar Kamangar set a goal of growing YouTube’s monthly video viewing hours to one billion in 2016, from a base of 100 million in late 2012, according to the Information story. Currently, YouTube clocks about 300 million monthly viewing hours, according to the article.
One way to grow this key metric would be the long-rumored acquisition of Twitch. The website, which focuses on live video streams of video game action, is responsible for 1.35 percent of all peak residential downstream internet traffic, according to Sandvine, which means it is getting more usage than HBO Go.