You know, it really wasn't that hard to predict that the brainchild of Rupert and James Murdoch -- an iPad-only news publication, called The Daily, that people would pay for -- would flop
. The Murdochs (father and son) don't have a particularly good history of succeeding on the internet. In fact, they have a history that is mostly littered with failure
when it comes to internet ventures. But, in an age when ubiquity, availability, access and sharing are what consumers want, coming up with a publication that was locked down, specific to a single platform, and quite limited, just seemed like a bad recipe from the start. We'd already noted that a bunch of the "big name" journalists and staffers that had been brought on to The Daily had been leaving
just weeks after the publication launched.
But what about readers? While the Murdochs have been quiet, the folks over at Nieman Lab put together a nice proxy, in looking at how many people were Tweeting stories from The Daily's iPad app
. I'm sure it's not a perfect correlation, but if people were really engaged
with the news from The Daily -- which, increasingly, is an important aspect of news communities, you would expected to see this number continue to go up. Instead, as Joshua Benton describes, it's "decline, plateau, decline." Here's the graphical representation:
Again, this almost certainly does not represent a direct correlation to readership. We see stories that gets lots of traffic get very few tweets or comments, and stories with relatively little traffic get a ton of comments. But, on the whole, as an overall proxy, it at least suggests something not good
is going on at The Daily
in terms of actually getting readers engaged.
And, I think, that's the obvious problem the Murdochs always run into with their online efforts. They're good at producing content. They're dreadful at actually engaging with a community. They bought MySpace, but their failure to understand what people there wanted resulted in its rather massive decline. It seems clear, with the Daily, that engagement and interacting were an afterthought. At best, it was a "let them tweet!" sort of discussion, rather than a look at how to actually engage the community in any meaningful way.