Original Content Not Paying The Bills At Internet Production House

The creators of lonelygirl15 and Bebo-backed KateModern are backing away from producing more original entertainment, at least for the time being.
Greg Goodfried, who co-founded web studio EQAL in 2007 with partner Miles Beckett, says it boils down to costs and reach. “To build and sustain audiences and get [original shows] noticed you need an enormous platform. Unless you can get YouTube to put you on their home page every other day it’s tough.”
According to NewTeeVee, Goodfried says it’s unreasonable to think you can come up with an original idea and expect advertisers to finance it anymore. Advertisers want brands that already have a built-in audience.
Tubefilter picked up the story too.

With costs rising, even sponsor deals like Neutrogena’s well-received integration within the lonelygirl15 storyline still weren’t enough to fully support the show’s costs. Union pay rates for talent and writers, additional crew support and marketing costs all added to the per-episode sticker price.
“What lonelygirl15 evolved into is super expensive, and the internet is still not at a place where you can sustain that kind of production,” says Goodfried bluntly.

These market pressures have led EQAL to pursue other ventures, like Get Cookin’ with Paula Deen. “Instead of creating new IP from scratch, we’re partnering with existing IP,” says Goodfried.

If you look at EQAL’s “About” page, there’s this:

We believe that the community is just as important as the content we create. With this as our blueprint, we construct interactive shows that transform passive viewers into active participants.

I find that language sort of odd coming from a producer of original entertainment, although I understand the desire for a deeply engaged audience.
Tubefilter suggests that the next Web stars will need to learn to wear many hats — talent, production, marketing — and manage to put to use their biggest advantage over traditional media: inexpensive labor. Goodfried agrees, “They are going to be pretty much homegrown. It’s hard for traditional media to do it because they don’t know how to do it.”



About David Burn

I wrote my first ad for a political candidate when I was 17 years old. She won her race and I felt the seductive power of advertising for the first time. Today—after working for seven agencies in five states—I am head of brand strategy and creative at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.