Interest in the Daily is plummeting

Hopes that the Apple cargo cult would save the print industry are proving groundless as sales in the tablet based Daily have tanked.

Rupert Murdoch placed his faith in Apple and launched his e-rag onto the world. Initially there was a bit of interest, but it looks like dedicated followers of Apple are looking elsewhere.

According to a Nieman Journalism Lab analysis, which is based on Twitter sharing activity, after an initial spike of interest, then an app upgrade which eliminated some technical problems, the Daily is in “decline, plateau, and decline.”

Nieman author Joshua Benton could not count readers, and News Corp is not going to tell anyone.

News Corp said a month ago that downloads were in the “hundreds of thousands.” However it was issuing it for free and there is no indication that many people paid for a subscription after the trial period.

Nieman admits that tweeting volume needn’t necessarily correlate with subscribership in an intuitive way. But it does seem logical. If tweeting from The Daily goes up, it might only mean that people are tweeting more. If tweeting goes down, it might mean that there are fewer subscribers.

However tweeting from within the app has dropped and Nieman claims to have found a worrying trend.

Benton said that while a certain amount of decline would be expected after the initial rush of attention, the fact that there’s never been an appreciable, sustained uptick in sharing isn’t cause for optimism.

In the middle of the monitoring period, Jobs’ Mob released iPad 2 which should have bought millions of new Daily customers into the fold. It didn’t.

The Daily had a high-profile launch following weeks of media interest in the publication. It had a $100 million start-up budget and a number of top hacks signed up for it. Techeye started up with a bit of loose change in the bottom of Magee’s pocket and Nick Farrell signed up for it. Yet it would appear that we have more readers.