Nieman Says The Daily is Losing Readership

The Nieman Journalism Lab at Harvard seems to think The Daily is losing readership.

So soon?

Though it launched in early February, Nieman’s Joshua Benton is on aĀ  mission to use publicly available data to try to understand The Daily‘s readership. He readily admits that it’s tough to measure audience size with news organization apps on smart phones and other portable devices due to a lack of hard data.

Benton says the problem is that with an outlet like Rupert Murdoch‘sĀ The Daily, only available on the iPad, traffic numbers aren’t available. Rankings of popular apps change from day to day. Plus, The Daily‘s publisher won’t say anything about traffic except that the app has been downloaded “hundred of thousands” of times.

Benton examines Twitter sharing, and finds that…

The Daily is “losing audience over time rather than gaining it.” The data, Benton writes, shows “an early rush of excitement; a decline as people lost interestā€¦and then another decline once the app started charging users.”

Readers tweeted 387 times on February 3rd,Ā The Daily‘s first full day on the iPad. Now, that number is at about 50 tweets per day. The number may not tell us exactly the size of the audience, but it’s “pretty good evidence the number has shrunk rather than grown,” Benton says. Granted, the iPad has only been around for a little over two months.

Read the full analysis here. The piece, published today, is the first in a series. Tomorrow, Benton will dive further into who exactly is doing the Twitter sharing, when they’re sharing the stories, and “much more.”

The Daily never responded to a request for comment.