I agree. Times paywall has decimated the online readership (not that I ever read it).
They made the mistake of thinking they could apply the Wall Street Journal model. What they didn't take into account is that the WSJ is a niche product, with no real alternative out there for those who don't want to pay.
The Times is not unique, everyone just moves to the Indy, Guardian or Telegraph - which is the same content but with different editorial slants.
Same reason Murdoch was lobbying the government to reduce the BBC's remit. He doesn't like the fact that the BBC website provides news content for free - if it stopped doing it then he might be able to round up the major UK online newspapers into a cartel and have them all use paywalls.
Mash is not unique. It's a shame, I liked it. But like most of the internet, it's cool - but I ain't gonna give you money for it.