What Is The Price of Real-Time Worth?

Includes: BOT, CME, NDAQ, NYX
by: Paul Kedrosky

I've written here many times about my current fondness for all things real-time, so I was intrigued to see that major Internet sites have begun to take up the fight. They are squabbling with the various U.S. exchanges about the rapidly increasing price for real-time ticker data.

"The exchanges are increasingly seeking to restructure fee arrangements with the most popular Web sites and Internet companies in order to maximize the exchanges' profits at the expense of average consumers and investors," Mr. [Markham] Erickson [NetCoalition.com's executive director] wrote SEC Chairman Christopher Cox in a Nov. 6 letter. "In some cases [they] have sought retroactive fee changes, making carrying this data a prohibitive legal and financial risk."

This is going to be an increasingly important issue as more and more industries discover the premium that they can charge for heretofore free real-time data. Granted, the exchanges have always charged for real-time data, but even they are upping those prices in a hurry.

Editor's note: The following exchange management companies stand to benefit from charging for real-time data: NYSE Group (NYSE:NYX), Nasdaq Stock Market Inc. (NASDAQ:NDAQ), CBOT Holdings Inc. (BOT), Chicago Mercantile Exchange Holdings Inc. (NASDAQ:CME)