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YouTube Q4 Ad Sales Rise 15% As Parent Alphabet Sees AI Investment, Severance Payouts

Google parent Alphabet on Tuesday reported decent numbers for the fourth quarter of 2023, including a 15.5% hike in YouTube advertising to $9.2 billion (from $7.8 billion), solid but disappointing the market a bit with shares down 4%. Most numbers met but didn’t exceed forecasts at a time of very high expectations for tech stocks.

Google Search & other advertising saw revenue of $48 billion, from $42.6 billion. Google Network saw ad revenue of $8.3 billion versus $8.5 billion. So total Google advertising including YouTube of $65.5 billion was up from $59 billion.

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Google services sales rose to $76 billion from $68 billion.

Cloud Services was strong, with revenue of $9.2 billion, up from $7.3 billion.

Alphabet consolidated revenue was up 18% at $86 billion. EPS of $1.64 was up from $1.05.

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“We are pleased with the ongoing strength in Search and the growing contribution from YouTube and Cloud. Each of these is already benefiting from our AI investments and innovation. As we enter the Gemini era, the best is yet to come,” said CEO Sundar Pichai, referring to the company’s new Gemini generative AI platform.

CFO Ruth Porat said, “We ended 2023 with very strong fourth-quarter financial results. … We remain committed to our work to durably re-engineer our cost base as we invest to support our growth opportunities.”

Investing in AI costs and the company as a result has had rounds of layoffs. A wave in January 2023 resulted in employee severance and related charges of $2.1 billion for the year.

Execs will go over the numbers on a call today at 4:30 p.m. ET.

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