YouTube Nets $4 Billion in Ad Revenue Despite Coronavirus Spending Slowdown

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YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki

Google owner Alphabet saw a significant slowing of ad revenue in March due to the global pandemic.

YouTube had just over $4 billion in advertising revenue for the first quarter of the year despite a slowdown in ad sales after the coronavirus pandemic hit the U.S. in March. 

Google began reporting YouTube revenue for the first time earlier this year, disclosing that the video giant earned $15.1 billion in ad revenue in fiscal 2019. During the fourth quarter of 2019, the platform, which is run by longtime Google executive Susan Wojcicki, brought in $4.7 billion. 

YouTube's first quarter was not as strong, though the company still brought in significantly more ad revenue than the $3 billion it netted during same period a year earlier. 

In a statement, CFO Ruth Porat attributed Google owner Alphabet's $41.2 billion in first-quarter revenue to its search, cloud and YouTube businesses. However, she noted, "Performance was strong during the first two months of the quarter, but then in March we experienced a significant slowdown in ad revenues."

The company — which relies heavily on advertising, a business weakened by the current shutdown — is "sharpening our focus on executing more efficiently, while continuing to invest in our long-term opportunities," per Porat.