Up 21% year to date, and seeming to gain momentum daily, Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) must have its shareholders feeling like they’re in heaven. Google’s stellar growth is made even more impressive considering it’s hardly an upstart Internet company with a great idea and some upside potential — like a Netflix, Inc. (NASDAQ:NFLX) that seems to rise in value for the slightest of reasons. No, Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) is, and has been for years, firmly entrenched as a leader in mobile, cloud computing, and online advertising, to name just a few of its business endeavors. And with more cutting-edge revenue opportunities on the horizon, Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) may get to $1,000 a share sooner rather than later.
Where’s the growth coming from?
More than 90% of Google’s revenues are derived, either directly or indirectly via member websites, from its advertising revenues. At first glance, this would appear to make a case for Google bears: too much revenue from too narrow a line of business. But a closer look at how Google is driving the $11.9 billion in ad sales it enjoyed in Q1 of 2013 is warranted. With its industry-leading Android OS prompting smartphone and tablet users to access all things Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG), destination sites including the wildly popular YouTube, and a plethora of apps to enhance the visitor experience, it’s the master of generating back-door ad revenue.
Less tangible, but every bit as crucial to Google’s continued growth, is its concerted effort to push the technological envelope with new products and services, even as it explores ways to monetize existing assets. Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG)’s discussed transitioning its YouTube service and its more than 1 billion monthly visitors to a pay-to-play subscription service since last year. According to the latest rumors, that time is just about here. At a estimated $1.99 a month, it remains to be seen what kind of financial impact a YouTube subscription service will have, but if even a small percentage of its many active users get on board, it will pad Google’s already impressive bottom line.
With Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN) and Netflix, Inc. (NASDAQ:NFLX) knee-deep in streaming video, Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) will need to do more than simply flip the YouTube subscription switch and wait for the money to roll in. Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN) raised the streaming-video bar by pouring millions into developing original content. Both have announced that their respective new offerings were a smashing success, and they’d better be. With the outpouring of cash, as Netflix, Inc. (NASDAQ:NFLX) and Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN) spend millions for each new original episode, success will ultimately be measured by bottom-line results.