The Times have always acknowledged that the paywall would mean a drop in traffic. They accept that many former visitors to the site will not be prepared to pay.
But where will they go instead? Will they break their readership loyalities?
The point is taken up by Martin Belam, information architect for the Guardian.co.uk, who says we cannot assume that readers will simply defect to another online newspaper.
Writing on his blog, Belam says to assume so would be to “view our industry through the prism of the newsagent”.
The web isn’t a newsagent. It is rather more like the table in a library with newspapers scattered across it, ready to be picked up and browsed at will.
And unlike the newsagent, that library table is no longer confined to publications ‘registered with the Post Office as a newspaper’.
Many Times readers, he adds, “might just give up on all newspapers websites”.