Considering I never paid for the NY Times before the internet, it's unlikely that I will just because it's online, but that doesn't mean others won't.
I pay for satellite radio and a few dollars a month for their streaming internet version which used to be free, but it has unique content and is a destination so I pay.
I pay for premium video channels on cable, stuff not in the standard packages, just because it's unique content, a destination.
I pay for an online game destination, their stuff is top notch unlike the other sites giving the same games away for free.
Millions actually pay for these same things, why?
Because we're sick of the poor quality crap for free and will pay for something better and unique.
If the NY Times can be the best news source on the planet I'd probably pay for that too.
FWIW, I started charging last year for a service I've been giving away free for many years and those willing to pay are about 30% of those willing to take it for free. I'm totally stoked because that 30% is a huge increase in profit, screw the 70% that won't pay.