Kara Swisher

Recent Posts by Kara Swisher

lonelygirl15 Is Dead–Long Live EQAL!?!

Last Friday, what BoomTown would call the Web’s first bona fide hit ended, as the lonelygirl15 online series finale took place with 12 video segments uploaded over 12 hours.

Now, apparently, it is time to meet EQAL, a “social entertainment company” that is still essentially the two guys–Greg Goodfried and Miles Beckett (pictured here. left to right)–who dreamed up LG15 and also the KateModern Web series.

Except, rather than operating out of their homes on a wing and a prayer, they are now armed with $5 million in funding.

That investment in the Sherman Oaks, Calif.-based start-up, which was announced in April, included some true Silicon Valley luminaries, such as entrepreneur Marc Andreessen, investor Ron Conway and former Googler Georges Harik, as well as Conrad Riggs and Spark Capital.

Sources also said Google’s (GOOG) Marissa Mayer is one of the new investors in EQAL.

With its small pile of cash, Beckett and Goodfried are planning new online shows–one of which will debut in September–as well as a number of other things, in yet another attempt to create a successful mesh between Hollywood and technology and thus yield a lucrative and lasting interactive hit.

If anyone can give it a try, it would be this pair, which unleashed LG15 upon the unsuspecting Web population in mid-2006.

Unsuspecting, largely because most people at first thought the user-generated-looking online video of the incessant jabbering of its attractive female lead right into a computer’s camera was real.

Instead, it was actually the “story of a group of young adults fighting against an evil secret society, the Order, that uses the blood of girls with a rare blood trait to extend the lives of a small group of Elders.”

And they also used Neutrogena products while doing it! (The skin care company was an early sponsor, and a scientist from Neutrogena was also written into the story.)

So with clean faces and over the course of its two-year run, LG15 ran to more than 550 episodes with 100 million views.

Beckett and Goodfried also launched KateModern on the Bebo social network in the U.K. a year ago, which also just concluded.

The “story of a group of British young adults investigating a creepy, New Age religion called ‘The Hymn of One’ that is actually a front for the Order” garnered 50 million views.

Well, it’s all disorder now, as EQAL tries to keep the hits coming without LG15, by working with writers, producers, media companies and advertisers to create new interactive shows that also have engaged online communities.

EQAL’s motto: “The Show Is Everywhere.”

Well, we’ll see, but here are Beckett and Goodfried–the former was a physician and the latter a lawyer in their previous lives–giving me a tour of their new office in Los Angeles’s “Valley,” and also sitting for a longish video interview about where content online is going.

That’s a question a lot of people in both Hollywood and Silicon Valley hope they can answer.

Here’s the video:

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I think the NSA has a job to do and we need the NSA. But as (physicist) Robert Oppenheimer said, “When you see something that is technically sweet, you go ahead and do it and argue about what to do about it only after you’ve had your technical success. That is the way it was with the atomic bomb.”

— Phil Zimmerman, PGP inventor and Silent Circle co-founder, in an interview with Om Malik