One of the great things about intrade (recently split from TradeSports) is that they are open to suggestions from wide-eyed academics. For example, at Justin and Eric‘s urging, intrade listed several simple combinatorial markets, including baskets of states (e.g., “FL+OH”) in the 2004 US Presidential election and an October surprise market probing for a statistical correlation between Bush’s 2004 reelection and bin Laden’s capture.
Recently, again at Eric and Justin’s request, intrade launched a Sirius-XM merger market to predict whether the two satellite radio companies’ wedding vows will be blessed by the U.S. Department of Justice and the Federal Communications Commission.
The problem I see for XiriuM is that one-way purely broadcast technologies are nearing extinction. Even if some media don’t directly utilize the Internet or even TCP/IP, they will almost surely use a two-way communications link of some kind. Why? Ostensibly, because consumers want personalization and interactivity. Perhaps more to the point, because publishers and advertisers want better targeting and performance metrics.
The only “way out” I see for XiriuM is to actually become an Internet service provider for cars, much like the (formerly broadcast-only) cable companies did, for example by bundling high speed satellite downloads with a low bandwidth cellular uplink. Even so, I imagine that latency would be a serious problem, as with HughesNet (formerly Direcway) satellite Internet service, meant for use in rural areas with no broadband alternatives.
So, although I have no idea how DOJ will rule, and thus have no advice for intrade bettors, I do know how DOJ should rule: “sure, knock yourselves out”. Plus I have some throw away advice for SIRI and XMSR shareholders:… Sell!