It looks like those millions upon millions of free AOL discs the company sent out over the years are still paying off for America Online.
Sifting through the company's latest quarterly earnings you learn that 2.34 million people are paying an average of $20.86 per month for dial-up Internet service.
There was a time when AOL was almost the default service to get Internet access, allowing you both access to the World Wide Web and AOL's proprietary sites and chatrooms. These days, any dial-up service seems antiquated compared to the now commonplace broadband and mobile access with data speeds that are much quicker than dial-up access.
The subscriber numbers are dwindling, though. There were 6.87 million people subscribing to AOL dial-up at the start of 2009 and 2.58 million a year ago. And even though the average revenue per subscriber is up from $18.27 in 2009, total revenue from subscribers is down 7 percent compared to a year ago and down 56 percent compared to 2009.
For the curious, the dial-up business totals $155.1 million in revenue for the quarter. AOL made another $451.7 million in revenue from advertising on its websites, such as The Huffington Post and TechCrunch. Unlike the dial-up business, the advertising revenue is up year over year. This shift in revenue away from subscribers to online advertising is logical, as people get broadband or mobile Internet access and surf away.
AOL, as a whole, beat Wall Street estimates.
Photo: Ryan Finnie