Bryan Caplan  

The Tick Petition

Hair Length and the Demand for... Sticky-Priced, Illiquid Asset...

Years ago I signed an online petition urging Fox to release The Tick (the animated series) on DVD. Today I've got the DVD in my hand. Spoon! Who says economists won't help produce public goods?

To be honest, I doubt the petition helped. I was just feeling quixotic. Everything else I've wanted someone to release on DVD has long since appeared without the help of my virtual signature on a petition. It's nice to live in a world where greed so reliably delivers the goods.

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COMMENTS (8 to date)
Independent George writes:

Now, if only I could get a copy of the 'Tick' comic books. Hopefully, this will sell well enough for Season 2 to be released soon. If not, we'll be left with no choice but to force them using the deadly, razor sharp sting of sarcasm.

(BTW, I love the fact that this post was categorized under 'Public Goods', as opposed to something like 'More uber-geekiness from Bryan'.)

Mark Horn writes:


Is it really "greed" that drives this? Greed drives things like theft. But the desire to trade seems like something different than greed.

Yes, vendors want my money. But that's because they value my money more than they thing they have. They also know that I'm not willing to trade my money unless they deliver. So they are incented to meet my needs - produce something that I value more than my money. Meeting my needs doesn't sound like greed to me.

Certainly greed can come into play if all they're trying to do is trick me out of my money. E.g. falsely represent their product so that I think that I will value it more than my money, when I really won't. Asymmetrical information seems to be a tough thing to pull off with DVD sales. There's simply too many oppurtunities to try the product before you buy it (e.g. friends and Blockbuster).

So, as long as they're producing a product that I really do value more than my money, "greed" seems like the wrong word to describe it.

Am I wrong on this?

Independent George writes:

Mark - re-phrase that as a Tick-ism, and you'll be back on-topic :)

"People don't always have what they want, but they might have what they don't. But sometimes, other people happen to have exactly what they don't want but others do. That's when what I want is what you've got, and what I've got is what you want. So when you've got what I've got because you want what I don't, and I've got what I want when you had it, that's why we say, 'Let's make a deal, chum.' "

scott korfmann writes:

Your petition more than likely did help. Not in the sense that Fox saw how many names were on the list and felt that there was a big enough demand to make converting to DVD economically viable.

But in the sense that Fox has been milking the free advertising that online petitions and blogs are providing to increase demand. By just reminding people that the tick was a show you are supplying Fox with costly advertising at no charge. It only aired three seasons from 94-96 on fox, with only two seasons of re-runs on Comedy Central.

Now when the cost of converting to DVD is cheap and demand in a DVD only society is high they are cashing in.

TGGP writes:

My brother got me some bootleg recordings off E-Bay a while back. It was the best Christmas present ever. Of course, since then Youtube has made a lot of the episodes available for free.

MattM writes:

Mark, your musings (tangental though they may be) reminded me of a question that I've been pondering for a long time: Why exactly do companies so frequently sit on IP and products that they can release at very little expense to themselves?

Even if a product is very niche, such as Bryan's The Tick DVDs, as long the resources required to produce them are low enough the venture is pretty much guaranteed to turn a profit. It seems like a sure bet to me, but perhaps studios think every SKU they have needs to sell a million copies.

Swimmy writes:

"This sounds like a job for Bipolar Bear!

. . . But I just don't feel like getting out of bed."

MattM: Advertising costs too. For instance, I was completely unaware of this until reading this post. Now I have a purchase to make.

Xellos writes:

Hopefully they'll be able to get whatever issues prevented them from putting episode 11 on the DVD sorted out by the time they release the Season Two set and put it there.

Fun stuff, though. Now most of the old cartoons I want are on DVD. Just need Duckman, Eek! the Cat, and Daria.

TV Reporter: Can you blow up the Earth?
The Tick: Egad! I hope not! That's where I keep all my stuff!

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