Google Parent Alphabet Crushes Q3 Estimates, Stock Pops 8%; YouTube Ad Revenue Passes $5B

Jill Goldsmith

Google Parent Alphabet had a sour quarter last time but today it crushed Wall Street estimate and saw its stock surge 7% in late trading as third quarter revenue jumped 14% to $46 billion.

Earnings per share surged $16.40 from $10.12. Wall Street had anticipated revenue of $42.8 billion and EPS of $11.37.

At YouTube, ad revenue came in at over $5 billion (also a beat) from $3.8 billion in the year-earlier quarter. YouTube has two billion global users.

YouTube TV has passed 3 million paid subscribers.

Brand advertising and a burgeoning connected TV story at YouTube are underappreciated, several analysts said.

Wall Street firm Jeffries thinks fundamentals at Alphabet are recovering faster than expected. “Our checks indicate strength in YouTube ad pricing, return of brand ad spend, and continued strong bookings in Google Cloud. Overall, [the company] remains well-positioned to monetize secular shifts to online marketing, content and commerce.”

Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai needed a lift. He was called to testify yesterday along with Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg and Twitter’s Jack Dorsey at a Senate committee-revenge hearing that was supposed to focus on Section 230 on the Communications Decency Act but was mostly a grilling at how social media handled a controversial New York Post story that contained unsubstantiated allegations against Joe Biden.

The owner of the world’s largest search engine is also newly the target of an anti-trust suit by the U.S. Department of Justice. But government action could take years and experts seem to believe that a break-up is unlikely. The DOJ complaint in the view our expert, said a Jefferies analyst, “is that its scope was narrower than expected. It’s a tough case to win.” However, it’s possible a new administration could write laws that are less friendly to big tech.

It would near impossible to wean people off Google and onto other search engines, Jefferies said, citing a survey it ran of 1,000+ consumers. Some 71% would choose to reinstall the Google app or go directly to google.com if Google was removed from all their devices.

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