This is an exchange from RPG.net that sums up my feelings on the subject:
Originally Posted by maedsl
Is it any wonder new players are few and far between when they are confronted with 600+ page Rulebooks ???
Originally Posted by Spectralent
For the record, as a "new player" (having started in the 00s and not the 80s), the reason you might not be seeing many new players in your old-school campaigns is that a lot of people from my generation have expectations of games coming from video games or entertainment media rather than wargaming (I realise video games are entertainment media, but there's a bit of a difference between Skyrim and The Avengers). Poking tiles with 11ft poles and avoiding fighting to avoid wasting potions is less appealing, I typically find. We generally seem pretty good at drawing in new players with nWoD, GGG, FFG40k, and 4e, with varying degrees of appeal to storytelling, action, and combat tactics.
If the image in your head when you first come to D&D is Skyrim, the Avengers, or for that matter Desolation of Smaug, traditional D&D is bound to disappoint.