About 1.5 million people still pay for AOL — but now they get tech support and identity theft services instead of dial-up internet
- Apollo Global Management is paying $5 billion for Verizon Media Group, which houses Yahoo and AOL.
- There are still 1.5 million people paying a monthly subscription service fee for AOL — but instead of dial-up access, these subscribers get technical support and identity theft software.
- The number of AOL dial-up subscribers is now "in the low thousands," according to a source.
Amid the hodgepodge of Verizon Media assets that Apollo Global Management is buying from Verizon — Yahoo Finance, TechCrunch, advertising technology, Yahoo Fantasy — there's one cash flow stream that will not die: AOL.
The famed internet company that once bought Time Warner for $182 billion and used to make billions of dollars annually selling dial-up modem access, still has a monthly subscription service called AOL Advantage.
In 2015, 2.1 million people were still using AOL's dial-up service. That revenue stream has dried up. The number of dial-up users is now "in the low thousands," according to a person familiar with the matter.
But AOL still has a fairly lucrative base of customers who pay for technical support and identity theft services each month. There are about 1.5 million monthly customers paying $9.99 or $14.99 per month for AOL Advantage, said another person, who asked not to be named because the information is private. If average revenue per user is $10 per month, conservatively, that's $180 million of annual revenue.
Apollo announced Monday it's paying $5 billion for 90% of Verizon Media. The private equity firm doesn't have immediate plans to spin off or sell any of the Verizon Media Group assets, preferring to grow the collection through investment and management, said the people. Still, the long-term plan may involve finding different buyers for the collection of businesses after Apollo attempts to add value to the units, the people said.
Verizon agreed to pay $4.4 billion for AOL in 2015 and $4.5 billion for Yahoo in 2017.
While AOL has largely faded from popular culture, Yahoo still has about 150 million daily active users and nearly 900 million monthly active users.
A spokesperson for Apollo declined to comment. A spokesperson for Verizon Media didn't immediately respond for comment.
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