The weak ad market is forcing breakout online video studio EQAL out of the original content business, and into the arms of old-school media giants like *CBS*. EQAL is halting development and funding of its own standalone series, in favor of running the online video properties for existing brands like CBS’ Harpers Island (called Harper’s Globe) or Food Network icon Paula Deen (with a new property called Get Cookin’). It’s just the latest twist in the ongoing online video shakeout — though EQAL remains in better standing than shuttered studios like ManiaTV or 60Frames.
Co-founder and CEO Miles Beckett all but predicted the shift during our Year End Digital Review and Mixer in December: he noted that EQAL’s existing business model — creating shows and then getting big brand sponsors (like Neutrogena for lonelygirl15) to pay up — wasn’t scalable or viable for the long term. Co-founder and COO Greg Goodfried told NewTeeVee that advertisers wanted to sponsor properties that already had large audiences — not new series that weren’t guaranteed to succeed.
Find out about the projects EQAL will be developing for other brands after the jump.
EQAL is working on a number of third-party properties to help keep the lights on in the meantime: First up is Get Cookin’; the reality TV/cooking show hybrid follows Deen on the road, and fans will be encouraged to upload their own videos and blog posts. There’s also a pending project for CSI-creator Anthony Zuiker, called Level26.com (pictured), a “digi-novel” that includes online and actual bound book storytelling, as well The Kind Life, a green-centric series fronted by actress Alicia Silverstone. MediaWeek first reported that EQAL was foregoing its own original content at the OnfrontNYC event, a sort-of digital “upfront” for online content companies.