As a result, once-wary advertisers are pouring in. In 2013, YouTube attracted all of Advertising Age’s 100 top spending brands. The company’s ad revenue for last year, according to eMarketer, totaled about $5.6 billion, up 51 percent from 2012. (By comparison, CBS, the most-watched network and three-quarters of a century old, reported $8.5 billion in ad revenue in 2012, the last full year for which data is available.)
It’s a lot of money, but it is spread so thinly among the many content providers that an increasing number are saying they aren’t so sure that the deal makes sense for them financially.
Some executives of media companies that post videos to YouTube and other sites make basically the same point: YouTube is uploading videos so quickly that it can’t sell enough ads to fill all the potential spaces. It is especially lagging, they say, in selling ads to its two fastest-growing audiences: those coming through mobile devices and those overseas. The executives spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of angering YouTube.