Please, let’s not start The Faily (or should I say, #faily) jokes. An iPad only-newspaper, The Daily, launched two months ago. So, how’s this News Corp.-owned digital publication been doing so far?
We don’t have exact data because the publisher wouldn’t divulge official sales numbers, but that didn’t stop bloggers from guesstimating. One possible indication of how iPad owners are using The Daily are story links tweeted from within the app. Read on…
The Daily article links shared via Twitter and Facebook land to their web-optimized counterparts on The Daily homepage, which itself isn’t exposed to search engines. As a result, only folks with article links can access the pages. The number of tweets shared via The Daily app could therefore serve as a pretty accurate indication of The Daily’s readership.
That’s exactly what Niemen Journalism Lab did. Because Twitter requires app developers to register with the API for in-app tweeting, each tweet originating from within The Daily can be easily tracked by mining a stream of publicly shared tweets on Twitter.
What they found out isn’t encouraging – The Daily seems to be losing audience. The below chart they put together tells us that the number of tweets shared via The Daily app dropped more than tenfold since the publication’s debut:
The data doesn’t look good for The Daily. Its activity on Twitter seems to match my own perceptions of how they’re doing — 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.
Some caveats, though. The Daily only recently begun charging users 99 cents a week. Prior to that, everyone was enjoying a free trial period. Also, people haven’t unsubscribed, they just aren’t using the app or tweeting articles. Hope Rupert Murdoch is in it for the long run. The Daily costs an estimated half a million dollar per week to keep it going.