YouTube could receive revenues approaching a billion dollars this year, apparently. Google does not break out revenues for YouTube, although it has indicated it could turn a profit this year. An analyst estimates that YouTube will earn $945 million in 2010 and exceed a billion dollars in gross revenue in 2011.

The numbers come from Citigroup analyst Mark Mahaney. He points out that the video site is increasing the amount of advertising around professionally produced programming, particularly music videos.

YouTube is now running advertisements against over half of the top 100 videos, up from around a third in June 2008. The number of clips with both pre- and post-roll commercials has also increased.

By comparing figures with MySpace, with estimated revenues of just over a dollar per thousand advertising impressions, the Citigroup analyst concludes that YouTube could receive $1.13 billion dollars gross in 2011, with net receipts of $737 million, taking into account revenue shares. That is before operational costs, which could be significant, although likely to be less than some estimates because Google manages much of its own infrastructure and has significant economies of scale.

At the Cable Congress in Brussels, Patrick Walker of YouTube said he expected the operation to be profitable this year.

YouTube is by far and away the most watched online video site, generating over a billion views a day, with 20 hours of new media uploaded every minute. The site is increasingly presenting professional produced media on a revenue share basis, but carries a long tail of material that does not generate revenue.

Google revenues were $23.6 billion in 2009, producing a net income of $6.5 billion after tax. In its most recent annual filings, Google stated: “we have yet to realize significant revenue benefits from our acquisition of YouTube”.