Political Animal


August 07, 2014 12:20 PM Whirr! Beep! Welcome to AOL!

By Ed Kilgore

Here’s an interesting if mean-spirited item from Matt Yglesias at Vox:

AOL — publishers of the Huffington Post, Engadget, TechCrunch, and others — announced its second quarter earnings this week, and the news was good. The company made a bunch of money! But the way they made it was kind of weird.
Notwithstanding the company’s emphasis over the past decade or so on building content brands and selling advertisements, the actual business continues to be selling subscriptions to about 2.3 million suckers paying $20 a month for God-knows-what. This has been noted in a variety of news outlets, but few people are paying attention to the fact the subscription business accounts for over 100% of the company’s profits.

I dunno. I haven’t subscribed to AOL since I lived in the middle of nowhere and dial-up internet service was the only game in town. I don’t believe there are many places like that anymore.

On the chance that some of those “2.3 million suckers” are regular readers of PA, I’ll put it out there: If you subscribe to AOL, why do you do so? Unlike Matt, I’m open to persuasion.

Ed Kilgore is a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly. He is managing editor for The Democratic Strategist and a senior fellow at the Progressive Policy Institute. Find him on Twitter: @ed_kilgore.


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