More than 250m people are accessing YouTube from handheld devices – a quarter of its 1bn monthly users – according to the service’s VP of sales Lucas Watson. Mobile growth is paying off for YouTube too: Watson claims that it has tripled advertising sales on mobile devices in the last six months, which Bloomberg then suggests means YouTube may have generated up to $350m in mobile advertising revenues in the first quarter of 2013 alone. The maths behind that are interesting: it’s based on an analyst estimate that YouTube now generates around 10% of Google’s total revenues, and that mobile is 20%-25% of those YouTube ad sales. Google’s overall revenues were $14bn in Q1, which would mean YouTube generated $1.4bn, and thus the $350m mobile YouTube ads estimate. The thought of YouTube with an overall annual run-rate of $5.6bn in ad revenues is also a figure for the music industry to think about, particularly when pondering the popularity of music on YouTube, the opportunity to make money from ads around music videos, and ongoing negotiations about royalty rates paid by the service. “The commercial business has exploded,” Watson tells Bloomberg. “It’s a huge part of our business, and we know that’s where it’s headed.”

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