In its heyday, AOL’s dial up service was more popular than Netflix is today. That’s one of the takeaways from our analysis of major tech companies and the percentage of U.S. Internet users that used each service at its peak.
The stats in the accompanying charts illustrate how dominant each giant was back when. In the Netflix case, it suggests that the video service has some room to grow. For example, if Netflix was to reach AOL’s peak penetration, it could add another 11 million subscribers in the U.S.
We looked at historical user data for Facebook, MySpace, AOL, Google and Netflix. What we found was that those in the past peaked too early. The size of the Internet audience has grown so much over the past decade—U.S. households with Internet access has more than doubled since 2000 to an estimated 89 million, according to Nielsen. As a result, a company which emerged early missed out on much of the Internet’s potential.