AOL posted its fourth quarter financial results today, and we relearned, as we do each quarter, that AOL still earns most of its money from subscribers who for whatever reason actually pay to connect to the internet using AOL. Worse, some people pay for AOL services while paying someone else for internet.
In fact, as BI points out, subscribers are the only reason AOL is profitable. In the fourth quarter, the company earned $US176.7 million from its "Membership Group", which is more than company's overall $US133.1 million profit. Luckily for AOL, its branded media group and other parts of the business are trending upward. It's a good thing, because those subscribers aren't going to be there forever. [Yahoo Finance via BI]