updated 05:00 pm EDT, Wed April 6, 2011
Long-term prospects yet to be seen
News Corp.'s iPad-only news magazine The Daily is losing traction, says the Nieman Journalism Lab at Harvard University. It's currently impossible to gauge the exact performance of the publication, as neither Apple nor News Corp. have released detailed figures. Because of Twitter integration, though, it becomes possible to gauge relative activity.
App developers must register with the Twitter API, which makes it possible to record the number of public tweets generated from The Daily. Charts show that on February 3rd, the app's first full day of availability, posts peaked at 387. Within a week numbers had dropped to 209, and within two weeks they were sitting at 104. As of March 31st the quantity of daily tweets was closer to 50.
The decline is anticipated, says Nieman's Joshua Benton. "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," Benton writes. News Corp. finally began charging 99 cents a week for The Daily on March 21st. In theory, though, the app should be gathering more subscribers and not less, as the iPad 2 was introduced on March 11th and has been selling to people who never bought the iPad 1.
Much is riding on The Daily. The magazine is a flagship for both News Corp.'s digital efforts and Apple's in-app subscription system. News Corp. however is thought to be paying approximately $500,000 per week to run dedicated operations.