The best word to describe the report is poverty. Few outlets have made money online, and the few which have made all the money. Everyone links to branded news sites, but no one pays.
The problem is illustrated best by the report's main page, shown above. It's a user with Google News. Google has never monetized its News service, directly, and seems to have no intention of doing so.
This doesn't mean that the pages it links to lack a business model. But from the whining of the industry, one would assume they don't.
Our own Charles Cooper asks, "were we wrong about the democratization of media?" If you read the Pew report, which is one giant "waah!" you'd have to say yes.
The problem is you've got an industry blaming the customers for its own failures, and that never works.
I've been watching the disaster unfold from the front row for over a decade and I have to say that so-called "news executives" are almost as Clueless about this medium today as they were in the mid-1990s.
They still don't get it. The key to success is to monetize each page you serve, as best you can, and then to serve as many pages as possible.
This is as easy, and as hard, in an open source world as it was back when you needed government licenses or ink by the barrel.
The idea that "consumers must pay" for news ignores the plain fact that consumers have never paid. The cover price of all but the tiniest newsletters goes entirely into distribution, not into editorial. Anyone who tells you different is selling something.
A second fact, which I'm pleased to note, is that the people of C|Net have been on the leading edge of the fight to make money in this business. To know a medium, it helps to come from the medium.
Link your content production costs directly to your advertising income, make certain the former is lower than the latter, and the money will flow.
A lot of content costs nearly nothing to produce. Just find a loudmouth (like me) who can describe what is happening in an entertaining way. We're cheap as chips.
The challenge is what it has always been, to organize and advocate a community, industry or lifestyle. Bringing sellers together with buyers is a key part of the mission. The mission hasn't changed. Get off your butts and sell the ads.