Home Slow March to AOL’s Funeral Continues: Split in Two

Slow March to AOL’s Funeral Continues: Split in Two

According to a statement by Time Warner, AOL will be split into two separate businesses: advertising and access. Overall, revenues from its AOL division declined 16% to $1.1 billion last year. Most importantly, subscription revenue from its dial-up services dropped by 29%, especially after AOL started to offer more of its products for free. The only bright spot for AOL was that its advertising sales grew by 2%. Even there, though, the decline in users on sites in the AOL network put a dent into the otherwise relatively positive results.

There had already been some speculation about a potential sale of AOL by Time Warner before this. Given the current state of AOL’s Internet access business, the question has to be if anybody would even be interested in this.

Earthlink to the Rescue?

Chances for a revival of AOL’s dial-up business, which was once almost synonymous with ‘the Internet,’ are probably pretty low and the same goes for its subscription services. If anything, as Marguerite Eardon speculates, EarthLink might be interested in picking up what is left of AOL’s dial-up services. On the other hand, Time Warner has already been shopping AOL around since at least February and apparently has not found any buyers yet. While there is still a sizable number of people who do not have access to broadband services, dial-up service is simply a dying business.

Time Warner will probably hold on to the advertising side of AOL, though. After all, it is still a growing business. AOL also still has a number of other profitable content and service properties like its AOL Mail and Messenger, though Time Warner also apparently decided to shutter some of AOL’s less successful business like XDrive and  AOL Pictures.

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