Interesting piece from Joe Esposito over on The Scholarly Kitchen:
The problem that advertising-supported businesses have when the Internet comes along is that online advertising has so many places to go. The inventory is immense. Thus, a publication in print that earns $1 in advertising revenue goes online and finds it can only earn one-tenth of that. The internet turns dollars into dimes. And this is true for every segment of media, including advertising-supported or subsidized scholarly journals.
What is happening now is that the attempt to build a comparable advertising business online is proving to be fruitless for all but a handful of players, notably Google and Facebook. The now-famous paywall of the Times, and the higher paywall of the Wall Street Journal, is but the first step in the direction toward paid content over advertising. The short- or medium-form works the Times is contemplating are another step.