The gross figure is well below the $5.6B estimated by eMarketer last fall. Nonetheless, YouTube, whose profitability has often been questioned, is said to be in the black.
The Information also reports daily viewing hours are now near 300M - up from 100M in fall 2012, but well below an ambitious 2016 target of 1B. The site makes note of the competition YouTube, still the 800-lb. gorilla of free Web video, faces from rivals ranging from Netflix to Yahoo to Facebook. Yahoo is reportedly prepping a video site, and hoping to enlist disgruntled YouTube content providers.
In an apparent sign YouTube monetization is now a priority, Google recently replaced Salar Kamangar as YouTube's CEO with former ad/commerce product chief Susan Wojcicki. Since then, YouTube has rolled out a program allowing brand advertisers to focus on top content providers, and has been rumored to be eying game live-streaming platform Twitch, whose base skews heavily towards the 18-34 demographic beloved by advertisers.
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