How much money does YouTube make from advertising? Parent company Alphabet has never announced that, leaving analysts to make their best guesses.

In 2013, eMarketer claimed that the site was generating $5.6bn in annual revenues, for example, while in 2015 UBS suggested that had grown to $8.5bn.

recent claim from Nomura that an advertising boycott of YouTube in 2017 might have cost it $750m in lost revenues – ‘about 7.5% of its annual revenue’ – suggested an annual figure of around $10bn last year.

Now an analyst at R.W. Baird has upped that figure considerably for 2018, describing YouTube as “probably a $15 billion business” for Alphabet. Colin Sebastian also thinks that the parent company may break out an official figure in the not-too-distant future.

“Our view is that Google will provide a YouTube number, if not this year, then likely next year,” he said, citing the example of Amazon with its Amazon Web Services (AWS) business. “They may want that AWS moment in which the market can assign a…multiple to YouTube. YouTube is probably a $15 billion business, and yet they don’t disclose that number.”

Keep those last five words in mind, though: since YouTube doesn’t disclose the numbers, all the figures above are guesses.

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