Right now, there is more money to be made selling ads online than selling news.

With online advertising continuing to climb (Emarketer says online ad spending will be up 4.8% in 2003), and with online newspapers getting an outsized share of that growth, who is going to be willing to jeopardize their seat on the gravy train by charging for content?

The Online Publishers’ Association says that their members (all big publishers) are seeing a 38% growth rate in online advertising. This is consistent with what the big newspaper publishers are reporting.

company Q2 revenue in millions Y/Y growth
NY Times $21.6 22%
Knight-Ridder $19.3 36%
Tribune n/a 15%
Lee Enterprises $5.8 35%