Paying for the Times

So the New York Times took the bold and, ultimately dumb, step of forcing its online readers to pay for future op-ed and columnist content. I understand the motive, the business model, the necessity for added revenue streams, the financial objective and reader incentivization.
But this is a dumb move because it will ultimately hurt students of (often very) good opinion writing and further isolate the Times from other newspapers and publications. I don’t know many (or any) non-journalist who would pay $50.00 per year to read these writers. Which means that it will ultimately insult the Times’ writers and the quality of their work.
Instead of forcing customers to read op-eds, why not have special sections (such as resources and additional articles) that are created to complement those op-eds and allow opt-in payment structures for them, just as they do now with archived articles?