The UK startups that aims largely at the US news market has, rather contrarily, signed a deal with a UK newspaper. Prediction market HubDub, which lets users turn news articles into an attention-drawing gaming market, is partnering with the The Independent newspaper to allow their users to predict the outcomes of news stories.
HubDub’s content is almost wholly about US news sources right now. Its users trade predictions with virtual money on the outcomes of breaking news stories and future events. There are 2 million “Hubdub dollars” traded daily as a result.
The Independent will now embed the HubDub widget for questions, which then clicks through to the Independent’s HubDub acount. There are more tools to help build a community for The Independent within the site from there. The Independent will still sell their own ads against the functionality and also link to related Independent articles. Here is an example.
Jimmy Leach, editorial director for digital at the Independent thinks “There’s a tremendous fit between our audience and the addictive functionality of Hubdub”. However, given that the Indy is one of the lowest-ranked newspaper web sites in the UK by traffic, I would say anything they can lay their hands on to improve attention times and traffic is going to be a good move. The key to this, as Nigel Eccles, HubDub co-founder tells me, is to eventually pull all the Independent markets on to one page on the Independent site and allow the users to build their portfolio of predictions there without leaving the site. I’m surprised they haven’t launched this already, so perhaps this is a not-for-cash distribution deal and just a toe in the water for the Indy?
Note that HubDub has not signed a deal with the Guardian, the UK’s biggest online newspaper, possibly because they just don’t need it at this point. However it does have a deal with Reuters. And they are already tracking Mike Arrington’s predictions, poor guy.
It’s interesting to see what other startups will appear in the prediction market. TheStandard in the US majors on US tech news but is noticeably not getting much traction in its market.