AOL Still Has 2.4 Million Paying Subscribers

For most of our readers, AOL is is a distant memory: you probably still have an Instant Messenger account around somewhere, and your favorite aunt uses it for e-mail. Oh, and you think that they might own some sites you visit sometimes, like Joystiq and TechCrunch. However, even as it works hard at becoming a content company, AOL still earns a lot of money from selling Internet service to people, including dialup.

How much money? According to their most recent quarterly earnings statement, which was released this morning, about a third of the company’s revenue still comes from members who pay a monthly AOL subscription bill. The actual figure is $196.1 million, or 196 distressed babies’ worth of money. That number doesn’t include people who retain free accounts so they can keep their AOL e-mail addresses. The company takes in an average of $19.41 per paying customer per month, but they’re losing about 9% of their subscribers every year. Their subscriber total is down from 2.54 million after the second quarter last year.

The dialup part of this equation is what actually makes sense. Dialup access is dialup access, and in areas where broadband isn’t an option, seven bucks a month gets them unlimited dialup time, a deal that I would have loved back in 1995 or so. Membership also includes other products of questionable value, like a 10% Sprint discount and access to AOL’s Computer Cleanup service.

Where this becomes an issue of consumer outrage is when we learn that people still pay AOL for Internet services that are not dialup, even though AOL e-mail is free, and they don’t need to do so. Maybe the recent spam-blasting incident that happened to AOL subscribers will cause a further exodus.

Q1 2014 Earnings Release [AOL]

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  1. webalias says:

    I wonder if it’s as hard to cancel AOL as it used to be. AOL was notorious in years past for making it nearly impossible to leave them — there were audio clips on the net of AOL reps abusing callers who forthrightly insisted on dropping the service. Consumerist even posted a few amusing examples in 2006, and the New York Times ran an article in 2005, “Canceling AOL? Just Offer Your Firstborn.” AOL was the company I loved to hate, before Comcast took that honor.