February 09, 2009

BATS Trading, the third-largest U.S. exchange, continues to try to make a name for itself by providing its market data free through as many channels as it can.

The latest example is BATS' announcement today that Xignite has created two web services for BATS data, XigniteBATSLastSale and XigniteBATSRealTime. The XigniteBATSLastSale service provides real-time quotes of the last sale price for the more than 8,000 U.S. equities traded on the BATS Exchange. The XigniteBATSRealTime service, which will be released "soon," will provide more in-depth real-time data, such as bid-ask prices and charts. Both services let companies integrate BATS data and charts with their Web sites and applications on a subscription basis.

Xignite calls this offering cloud computing, but BATS does not. "We consider this an opportunity to continue to give our market data away for free, which is something we've pledged to do since we launched BATS," says Randy Williams, vice president of sales and communication. "We look at this as an initiative to get BATS market quotes in the hands of more people that want to see them." There are no security issues, Williams says, because there is complete anonymity between BATS and the end user.

Traditionally, BATS has mainly delivered market data through direct connections to trading clients. Last week, BATS went live with a multicast version of its market data feeds, using multicast to send out the same data simultaneously to all subscribers, rather than sending the data multiple times in succession via TCP/IP. Clients connect to the feed by co-locating their trading servers in the same datacenter that houses BATS' matching engine.

But in May, the electronic exchange began providing free market data to the public, first to Yahoo Finance users, then in July to AOL members. In December, Forbes.com began offering real-time market data to its readers from BATS through Xignite.

The new, broader Xignite relationship is important, Williams says, because it's a way for BATS to reach the many end users of data that Xignite is connected to, who will then provide the data to retail investors.

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