Despite its massive popularity, it seems Google still hasn't managed to turn its YouTube service into a source of profit. Years ago we wrote Google was losing money with YouTube and nowadays it seems the bandwidth-hungry site is still only roughly breaking even. Last year YouTube pulled in revenue of $4 billion, up from $3 billion in 2013 thanks to a premium ads push called "Google Preferred".
Future plans for YouTube include optimizing ad revenue, getting people to spend more time on the site and getting original content creators on board to turn it into a more TV-like experience:
Instead, Google wants people to start coming to YouTube's homepage in the same way they would turn on the TV — expecting that they'll find consistently high-quality content on different channels. (Update: A Google spokesperson says that the vast majority of its traffic does come directly from YouTube.com or its mobile apps, with ~50% from mobile.)
That's why the company has poured big bucks into helping its original content creators, like Michelle Phan, Bethany Moto, and Epic Rap Battles of History, build their followings and create better videos. The company also redesigned its homepage and tried to improve its video recommendation to hook users into staying longer.