I've had a long time love affair with TIME.com . I'm constantly impressed with the quality of their content, and they have made many progressive steps to move into the online space in a meaningful way.
My gut reaction was very similar to Zach Wise
WTF! Goodbye Time.com…
But, then I watched the video, and regained some hope for my favorite online publisher. They're not just going to enact a paywall. They've given them selves 8 months to "experiment" with making portions of their sites paid content.
I personally subscribe to the "information wants to be fee" philosophy. Just about as much as I believe that more than anything, what the industry needs at this time is experimentation.
So while I'm generally against paid content, it can work. The Wall Street Journal does it effectively because they market to a niche audience that can expense their subscription as a business cost. Who knows, TIME Inc may very well have similar content among the wealth of information they produce.
Again, I'm not too hopeful that it will work, as I think the majority (maybe all) of their content is too general purpose to charge for, but we won't know until they try it.
Experiment away TIME. We'll come back for a review in November and see how you've done.