I looked at sales practices at 22 online news sites - a mix of big and small, national and local.
What stood out: Sites that professionalized their sales practices, including recruiting a sales rep and establishing a rate structure (not CPM) saw revenue gains. This is challenging because competition for good sales people is fierce. But many of the sites in the study figured out how to make it work.
Thanks to the Tow-Knight Center for Entrepreneurial Journalism for supporting this work. Here's the study.