Wednesday, May 8, 2013 at 11:03 am.

AOL vs. Netflix: The Entire Internet In One Simple Chart

Dialup out, broadband in. It doesn’t get more clear than this.

AOL Netflix chart

At the end of March, almost 2.7 million people still subscribed to AOL service, the company reported this morning. That’s about where Netflix stood at the end of 2004.

Since then, Netflix’s subscriber base has grown — 29 million at the end of March — and AOL’s has declined at a remarkably parallel rate. But that makes perfect sense: Nothing says “dialup” more than AOL, and few services have benefited more from the growth of broadband than Netflix. (The paths cross in early 2008, just as Netflix’s streaming video service was starting to take off.)

  • Worth noting: Netflix now has more subscribers than AOL ever had. (The distinction changed hands late last year.) This makes sense, given the rise of mobile devices, cheaper computers, connected videogame consoles/TVs, and just the increasing popularity of the Internet, thanks to broadband.
  • Worth pondering: What will eventually cause Netflix’s decline? Missing the next era of Internet technology? (Something mobile-first or mobile-only?) Internal crumbling? Or are Netflix’s best years just getting started?

Also: Microsoft’s Mobile Comeback Isn’t Happening