It's interesting largely because the Times states explicitly that their paid-member program, Times Select, met expectations and was profitable. However, they concluded that going forward they saw greater potential for profit growth in advertising rather than in charging members.
And it's at least partially due to search:
What changed, The Times said, was that many more readers started coming to the site from search engines and links on other sites instead of coming directly to NYTimes.com. These indirect readers, unable to get access to articles behind the pay wall and less likely to pay subscription fees than the more loyal direct users, were seen as opportunities for more page views and increased advertising revenue.
“What wasn’t anticipated was the explosion in how much of our traffic would be generated by Google, by Yahoo and some others,” Ms. Schiller said.
I think that this is great news for the continuance of the current "free content" model of the web. And, I'll be able to read my favorite columnists again...