Bad News for Murdoch: The Daily on the Decline

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Isn’t it supposed to be the new age of journalism where tech-savvy readers tout their tablets to catch up on the day’s latest headlines? Well, that’s what The Daily thought.

But new data reveals that News Corp’s iPad-only paper isn’t living up to its hype.

According to a Niemen Journalism Lab analysis based off of Twitter sharing activity, interest in the Daily is rapidly declining. The analysis measured the number of tweets generated within the The Daily app with the idea that the number of tweets generally increases as the number of readers increases – and vice versa.

Unfortunately, the exact number of readers is unknown. News Corp said last month that downloads were in the “hundreds of thousands.”

So without this vital piece of information, author Joshua Benton sought to find something that showed a broader trend.

Though perhaps not the perfect study, Benton claims it’s “evidence of a general direction.” And apparently, that direction is down.

Benton describes the trend as follows: “an early rush of excitement; a decline as people lost interest and the app struggled with technical problems; a plateau once the tech got sorted out; and then another decline once the app started charging users.” In the two months since its launch, only 6,026 tweets were generated within The Daily app.

The lack of a sustained uptick in sharing isn’t cause for optimism, he said, especially since Apple released its iPad 2 recently.

While the analysis may not tell us what exactly “hundreds of thousands” of readers means, the social media data is enough for Benson to assume the worst.

Sorry, Rupert Murdoch. And you wanted to charge for that? Yeah, right.

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