How is it prohibitive for new players? Maybe if you are under 2mil SP. However if you do PvE in highsec and can't run lvl 4s. The only way you can potentially make more money is high sec Refuges and hoping for escellations.
My 6mil SP char doesn't quite have enough standing for lvl 4s, and lvl 3s are absolutely shit for money. A lot of time I just end up grinding Dens and Refuges and either pick something up from faction drops, or stuff from the escellations. While it can be really good money, it can be extremely inconsistent and down right frustrating when sometimes you don't get a payoff for 10 or so in game hours.
With the event it honestly is not bad for people that already just do anoms. You get 3mil per site (solo), and have a chance of getting implants in the container at the end if you don't get ninjaed. My Gila can run the Serpentis shipyard in about 15 min solo and you are guaranteed to get at least 3 capital components in the container. Plus the chance of a T2 implant (of which I happened to get as well). 25mil for the low-grade right now. Can't even imagine what the high-grades sell for.
All I'm saying is, that yes, under most circumstances these are completely shit. However for some people its actually a pretty decent income because right around my SP area there isn't a whole lot else to do to make this kind of money in High Sec.