It seems no one is making money from online goggle box YouTube, least of all Google – despite reports that the company generated $4bn (£2.6bn) revenue last year.
While YouTube accounted for about six per cent of Google’s overall sales last year, it didn’t contribute to earnings, a source told the Wall Street Journal.
YouTube's revenue increased by $1bn (£644m) in 2014. But after paying for content and the equipment to deliver speedy videos, YouTube’s bottom line is “roughly break-even,” the source told the paper.
YouTube's "content generators" have also complained that the service also leaves them out of pocket.
Last month the treatment of independent musicians by the company came under the spotlight again when cellist Zoë Keating alleged that Google had attempted to get to her to agree to unfavourable new YouTube terms.
She claimed that Google's reps had told her that if she refused to sign the new deal, Google would stop paying her, but it could continue to use her music on YouTube. The company said her claims were "patently false".
Google bought YouTube in 2006 for $1.65bn (£1.06bn).
Since then YouTube has made no secret of its desire to tap into new revenue streams, having this week announced an app for kids that will be funded by "child-friendly" advertising.
In its fourth quarter, Google said its TrueView service, where advertisers only pay the company when viewers choose to watch their ad, was up 25 per cent compared with the fourth quarter of 2014.
El Reg has contacted Google for a comment. ®