I remember back when we got our first computer. We were so excited about not only the computer itself but also finally being able to have dial-up AOL (America Online) — including hearing the awesome “You’ve Got Mail” jiggle every time we would log into AOL. Unfortunately, at the time we lived in a small town which AOL did not service so we had to settle for local dial-up service. We did eventually get AOL when we moved but ditched it years back in favor of broadband when we moved from one computer to two computers in the home.
I figured in today’s digital age of broadband, little to no one would be using AOL dial-up. Heck, I didn’t even know AOL still offered dial-up service. However, to my surprise, many people still are using AOL dial-up. In fact, in AOL’s fiscal 2012, AOL sold over $600 million worth of agonizingly slow dial-up internet!
If you look at AOL’s recently released fiscal 2012 Q4 earnings, you will notice for fiscal 2012 AOL pulled in $705.3 million from ‘subscription[s]’:
AOL is very coy about discussing exactly how many of these subscriptions are AOL dial-up subscribers, but the general consensus among analysts is most of this $700 million comes from AOL dial-up users. However, if you look further down in AOL’s quarterly earnings, you get a better idea of exactly how many people are still subscribed to AOL dial-up:
So, AOL still has roughly 2,794,000 dial-up subscribers who pay roughly $19.27 per month. That comes out to $53,840,380 per month and $646,084,560 per year. To put that number into perspective, AOL is still pulling in more money from dial-up than it is from any of its other segments, such as its ad network and content brands. Insane.
While AOL has not provided details about exactly who are the people still subscribed to their dial-up services, it is speculated that most of these subscribers are elderly and/or uninformed people who either don’t know they don’t need to be subscribed to AOL to access their @aol.com e-mail, don’t know there are faster connections available now, or simply have forgotten to unsubscribe from AOL. As for the other people who knowingly still have AOL dial-up (either by choice or forced choice due to lack of broadband in their area)… I feel sorry for you.