This was a few weeks ago, but I was hardcore blown away when it was announced that Newsday had spent $4 million dollars to create a pay-walled news site, and had only accrued 35 subscribers.
Apparently, this story hasn't had much effect on the New York Times, which still seems to be going ahead with putting its own content behind a pay wall... sort of. It looks as though NYT and Newsday are both saying "Yes our content is worth paying for... but we're not going to make you pay for it."
Actually, the report I analyzed for Createquity made the point that free events do not paid subscribers make. There's the outside chance that some people who have not heard of you will find your free content, and then will know who you are and will pay for you, but certainly the Old Grey Lady is not suffering from lack of name recognition. And Newsday's freebies are only mostly available for established subscribers, thus nullifying the effect.