“The future for most publishers is likely that of pure content production only, save for the few — like Gruber — who are destination sites capable of selling native advertising in stream (or selling subscriptions, like this site). What is very much in question is exactly how users will feel when they finally get what they claim they wish for.”
Ben is mostly right with his analysis here – the only point I’d include is that there are possibilities (still) for small and niche sites to utilize affiliate marketing for profits. Even better are sites that are shaped around podcasts (*cough* Thinking.FM *cough*) or video etc.
If you’re looking to start a site, grow a large readership, and make money from advertising… that ship has sailed.
As I told a client this morning, websites and podcasts and YouTube channels aren’t direct money makers… they are marketing channels.