Genuine value is still coming out of articles. They just exist now, as oldbuddy said, on privately owned blogs/sites and more exclusive magazine-type sites (think Huffington Post) instead of article banks.
Article submission once was a reliable means of marketing, but those days are behind us. Plagiarists, spinners, and questionable experts chipped away at the value of directories by flooding them with poorly written, poorly researched, thinly veiled advertising.
I quit spending time submitting articles on my own behalf about 5 years ago. Sifting the bad directories out of the running had become a continuous job I just didn't have time to do. About 2 years ago, even the really reputable, top-notch sites (Ezine Articles for one) began to slip. I have one longtime client who, at the time, was stilling hiring me to edit, vet article sites, and submit her articles each month. She is a true expert in her field, but by the end of 2012, her excellent content had little or no chance being found among all the burgeoning dross. Meantime, readers had turned elsewhere, so even the best sites were not producing anywhere near the traffic they once did.
So we dumped all the banks and now focus her article efforts only on her own website, with publicity and distribution supported by email marketing and social media. She has built trust with a loyal audience, and the returns are so much greater (with so much less headache).