The company’s business model calls for the firm to make a profit many years from now by selling DVDs documenting each year’s Bigfoot hunt. The company plans to use $500,000 to promote its DVDs, $700,000 to purchase distribution deals for the DVDs, and $600,000 to produce new DVDs. Investment advisor Kathy Boyle told the Wall Street Journal that the company was unlikely to be a good investment because the DVD business is dying and few beyond true believers would want to support such a specialized firm.
The company should not be confused with Bigfoot Investments, a financial advising firm.
This is not the first time Bigfoot Project Investments, Inc. has tried to make an IPO since its founding in 2011. According to the SEC filing posted on the NASDAQ website, the company first filed for an IPO in 2013 asking for a $3 million IPO with a $0.10 share price. They revised their filing several times over the intervening year and are finally poised to follow through this time. Here’s the key paragraph from the original SEC filing:
We plan to continue to amass artifacts (footprint castings, skeletal, hair, skin, blood and other creature remains), and media products such as DVD videos, photographs, audio and Written documents, Televised, and Movie media events from our continued Bigfoot Expeditions throughout the United States and Canada. We will be unable to amass additional artifacts without the funding provided by this offering. We will use the artifacts we currently have and the artifacts we intend to acquire. The collection of artifacts is used as scientific evidence to substantiate the existence of this creature known as “Bigfoot” as a species through proper DNA testing and scientific examination. The evidence that the artifacts provide are provided to the scientific community as evidence in documentation of this creature as a new species. This documentation is used in media projects (Television, DVD movies, publications etc.) for marketing and the management believes it has substantial value. Media products such as DVD videos, photographs, audio and written documents, Televised, and Movie media events from our continued Bigfoot Expeditions provide the basis for our media projects, which are marketed and provide revenue. Additionally we will negotiate and purchase intellectual and physical properties relating to the creature as opportunities become available that will continue to feed the development of additional projects.
The firm counts among its assets 73 Bigfoot footprint casts, a “rubber suit from [the] 2008 hoax,” photographs of a dead “creature,” and a 109-inch skeleton—of what, it does not say.
The company hopes to use the IPO money to offset its $25,000 per year burn rate to keep the company afloat until time flows backward and DVDs are once again a growth industry. Or until hipsters fetishize them as retro technology. The company hopes to sell DVDs by writing about them on “web logs or ‘blogs’, online journals that are updated frequently and available to the public, postings on online communities such as Yahoo!(R) Groups, and other methods of getting internet users to refer others to our services by e-mail or word of mouth.” In other words, the company will have the best ad campaign of 2003! (Note to the humor impaired: This paragraph contains jokes.)
But what I find interesting about the IPO isn’t the brazen cash grab—$3 million for a company worth negative money?—but rather the insight it provides into the difference between the money made by large corporations that exploit fringe ideas for profit and the independent outfits. A single episode of Curse of Oak Island or Finding Bigfoot will pull in more cash than this Bigfoot company has in its entire lifetime, and this seems to be pretty good evidence that the a good chunk of the moneymaking power of the fringe is created and sustained by the media companies the exploit it and can leverage their distribution channels (like TV networks, websites, and publishing houses) to set the agenda. Just for comparison, a single TV spot on a major cable network averages $13,100, with some top rated shows charging as much as $60,000 per spot.