Luke Bradley-Jones, executive vice-president and managing director of BBC.com, warned that not all areas of the media sector will remain profitable unless there is major consolidation of the media industry.
Speaking on a panel discussing the issue of paid-for online content at the summit, Bradley-Jones said there is potential for both paid and ad-funded models to prevail in future.
However, he said charging for content online is "commercial logic and a necessity to move forward", adding that "key areas to develop are mobile and affiliate communications services and the industry will move to an ecommerce services."
Meanwhile, Rob Grimshaw, managing director of FT.com, said: "I can't see a pure advertising model working unless you've got one billion views a month, as anything below that will be sub-scale.
"Having a direct relationship with your audience is beneficial for business and gives you the ability to understand how they behave and so you can market to them directly."
Grimshaw added there were many ways publishers can charge for content online, such as added value services, noting that FT.com is exploring technologies and new pricing offerings for 2010.
However, Andrew Langhoff, publisher of The Wall Street Journal Europe, said any publisher looking to start charging for content has to think about operational issues, such as technology. He said: "When something goes wrong, one million people [will] want to talk to someone, so you have issues over customer services."