I haven't spoken with a single person who thinks The Times' paywall is a good idea, but here's a little empircal datum against it anyway.
This is the most read articles list from The Independent this afternoon.
That article at number one is this "court transcript" from 2002* - resurrected from the depths of the Indy's archives by a wag who posted it to reddit. I'm not sure how many page views it takes to get onto The Independent's most read list, but it stands to reason that it is several thousand views at a minimum. Reddit is easily capable of driving that sort of traffic.
It's impossible to imagine a publisher who wouldn't want several thousand impressions to add to their inventory on the back of some content that was bought and paid for eight years ago. Aggregators and curators like reddit make this sort of content necromancy fairly commonplace. By hiding behind their paywall The Times have only insulated themselves from little windfalls like this one.
*It's almost certainly a comedy piece and not an actual court record, but that's entirely beside the point here.