At times it feels like Alphabet (GOOGL - Get Report) (GOOG - Get Report) is criminally under-appreciated by stock market investors. Of course, it may not feel that way at first glance given its $718 billion market cap.
However, with more than $100 billion in cash on its balance sheet, 20% annual sales growth and key internet assets, how does this name trade at "just" 24.5 times this year's earnings?
If you're wondering what those key internet assets are, look no further than Google and YouTube. Sure, those platforms churn out billions in ad sales per year, but did you know they are the world's No. 1 and No. 2 most popular websites, respectively? More so than Facebook (FB - Get Report) , Amazon (AMZN - Get Report) and many others?
In fact, even country-specific Google sites hold top-25 spots, like Google.co.in for India at No. 11 and Google.co.jp for Japan at No. 20.
Specifically focusing on YouTube, the platform is continually trying to find more ways to boost engagement, despite users consuming more than 1 billion hours of video per day. Let's be honest, we've all been sucked down the YouTube rabbit hole, right? After launching services like ad-free YouTube Premium, its live-TV platform YouTube TV, and YouTube Music, the service is now bringing movies to its services.
For years now, customers have been able to buy and rent movies under YouTube's movie section of the site. However, last month the company launched full-length movies for free -- provided users are willing to sit through commercial interruptions.
Based on user demand, this was an opportunity for YouTube said Rohit Dhawan, director of product management at YouTube. The company feels that ad-supported movies are something that will draw in viewers and help boost engagement. He added, "It also presents a nice opportunity for advertisers."
There are roughly 100 movies available on the platform right now -- including classics like Rocky and Terminator -- and that library is expected to expand in the future.
Ultimately, this is a low risk way for YouTube to get involved in streaming content and bolster its YouTube offerings. Because it's using in-movie advertising, it's a win-win for YouTube and the studio licensing the content. It's a win for customers, provided that they're fine with watching commercials in exchange for not having to pay to watch.
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