Reading List: Not Cutting the Cord

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.

The Cord-Cutting Myth: Great analysis in Monday’s New York Times about the myth of cord cutting. Based on the minimal losses among cable companies, cord-cutting is proving to be more hype than reality. The Times says that services like Netflix and Apple TV are being seen as additive for TV lovers, not ways to cobble together enough TV that you no longer need cable. And the few folks that are cutting or reducing cable are doing it for financial reasons. In fact, Netflix has taken a bigger subscriber hit of late than some cable companies. However, the Times and others make one mistake in analysing the supposed cord-cutting phenomenon — looking at the TV universe as finite. If the number of cable subscribers isn’t going down, things must be OK. But should/could it be going up more if young, tech savvy folks weren’t entering adulthood with no intention of ever getting cable because the options afforded by Netflix, Hulu, YouTube, and piracy are so good? That’s a hard group to measure, but surely they exist. NYT— Mike Shields @digitalshields

Advertising’s Talent Shortage: The ad world has a supply-demand imbalance. Basically it has far too many people trained in the old ad world and far too few in the new data-fueled world. The New York Times revisits an issue Digiday has covered in the past. The challenge for the ad world is that it can’t just retrain its existing workforce. Many of them are in jobs that aren’t coming back. The new workforce — quants, analysts, engineers — will come from outside its ranks. It is also less likely to be drawn to the liberal arts world of advertising. There’s the problem. NYT — Brian Morrissey @bmorrissey

Damning with Faint Praise: While not actually adding to the cacaphony of criticism being piled on Groupon these days, the chair of Chinese Internet company Tencent Holdings, which partners with the daily deals giant in a Chinese coupon company, was circumspect about the future of the joint venture that operates the webiste Gaopeng.com. Tencent’s chair, Pony Ma, suggested that the company has not found success in China because the “China market is totally different from the U.S. or other markets.” The lukewarm response will certainly give investors considering the company’s IPO additional pause. Wall Street Journal- Anne Sherber @annesherber

Ubuntu Throws its Hat in the Mobile OS Ring: The mobile ad industry continues to struggle with standardization issues, not least around the range of operating systems currently on the market. Though Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android are the focus of the majority of advertisers and ad vendors, there’s also BlackBerry OS and Windows Phone 7 to consider, for example. Potentially complicating matters further, Ubuntu Linux developer Canonical has announced it too plans to play in mobile and intends to launch a version of its OS for smartphones, tablets and TVs to directly compete with the likes of iOS and Android. ZDNet — Jack Marshall @JackMarshall

Congress is Scary: According to a coalition of tech industry advocacy groups, the proposed Stop Online Privacy Act (SOPA) that was presented by the House Judiciary Committee last week would give the Justice Department sweeping powers and create a “thicket” of legislation. Those powers would make every part of the ecosystem- ranging from payment processing services to ad tech- responsible for the actions of websites that host content that is considered pirated.That means companies with connections to those rogue sites would have to cut those ties instantly, or face judicial consequences. The definition of piracy is so broad, the groups assert, that a vast range of content could be considered pirated and “ensnare” legitimate companies’ goods and services. The Hill
— Carla Rover @carlarover
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