Silicon Valley Threatens to go Dark Over SOPA

Each day we provide a roundup of five stories from around the Web that our editors read and found noteworthy. Follow us on Twitter for updates throughout the day @digiday.

Silicon Valley Threatens ‘Nuclear Option’ Over SOPA: Tech giants might hold users hostage over pending Internet anti-piracy legislation. The Stop Online Piracy Act is a bete noire across Silicon Valley. The law theoretically hopes to curtail piracy of copyrighted content by holding liable a whole raft of enablers. Silicon Valley darlings ranging from Google to Facebook to Twitter are, of course, major enablers. Now the companies are threatening to go dark to protest the law, which is slated for a vote later this month. It’s a bold gesture — the nuclear option! — that would definitely raise awareness of the law, which most people outside of the tech echo chamber don’t know is under consideration. The protesting companies will undoubtedly say they are defending freedom of speech. Color me cynical, but this is about money. There are billions at stake here, and it’s a farce when Google, which censors its search results in China, gets all high and mighty over such a principle. MSNBC — Brian Morrissey @bmorrisseyiOS Leads Android for Ad Interaction: Google’s Android mobile operating system may have surpassed iOS in terms of market share, but Apple’s devices still present a better opportunity for advertisers, per data from Jumptap. Click-through rates for ads targeted to iOS were .72 percent in November, the ad network said, compared to .64 percent for Android devices and an average of .65 percent across all devices. As long as users remain more engaged with ads and content on iOS devices, that could be enough to persuade developers to keep it top of their list of platforms, regardless of the scale disadvantages. mocoNews — Jack Marshall @JackMarshall

TV Everywhere Gains Momentum: Comcast and Disney have ironed out a new 10-year distribution deal that, among other things, moves the ball forward on TV Everywhere. VideoNuze is slightly unimpressed: The site points out that giving cable subscribers more digital access won’t change the fact that people think cable costs way too much. Too often, over-the-top services like Netflix and Amazon are viewed as appealing to users’ desire for programming access and control. That’s a huge part of their benefit, and something that TV Everywhere’s flexibility purports to address. But until cable MSO starts allowing consumers to carve up their packages into something that at least resembles a la carte pricing, all the TV Everywhere options in the world won’t stop consumers from pining for better options. And it won’t bring the growing number of young, never-had-cable consumers (the “cord-nevers”) to cable anytime soon. VideoNuze — Mike Shields @digitalshields

Roku Definitely Shrinking, Maybe Fading?: Roku, one of the faster-growing, cheaper alternatives to cable, has been enjoying a media honeymoon of sorts. The small company has inked multiple deals with prominent cable companies, it has been selling far better than similar, much pricier devices from Google and Microsoft, and many journalists own, and espouse Roku. But according to a Splatf analysis, Roku’s honeymoon may be fading out. The company, which just introduced a smaller version of its hardware, sold 1.5 million devices last year, 25 percent below estimates. It had better pick up the pace, given the red-hot growth of such platforms as Xbox Live and the looming promise of an Apple TV. A major lingering problem for Roku may be its cult nature. Unlike Apple and Xbox, few American consumers have actually ever heard of the company. Splatf — Mike Shields @digitalshields
Digiday Top Stories