Thursday, November 3, 2011 at 11:10 am.

Netflix and AOL: A decade of moving in opposite directions

Since AOL’s dialup business peaked in 2002, Netflix has gained subscribers at a fairly similar rate as AOL has lost dialup customers. It’s not a perfect correlation, and there’s no way to prove a relationship between the two, but it makes sense: While AOL’s numbers represent the decline of dialup, Netflix is a good example of a service ideal for broadband subscribers – especially as its relatively high-bandwidth streaming service has become the company’s focus.

That’s why you often hear Netflix CEO Reed Hastings mention broadband penetration when discussing attractive international expansion markets. (“All the markets where people have broadband and like TV,” he told Henry Blodget and me earlier this year.)

AOL Netflix subscribers

Related: 10 years of Netflix in 3 charts