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Lonelygirl heads to Italy

Eqal, the digital production company set up by lonelygirl15 producer Miles Beckett, is to launch a local Italian version of the hit web series after it inked a deal with Italian production company M.A.D Entertainment.

The Italian version will be a spin-off of the drama series rather than translation of existing scripts. Eqal will coproduce the series with producer M.A.D Entertainment, a Milan based company run by veteran producer Filippo Chiusano. M.A.D produces a number of gameshows including High Tension, a coproduction with 2waytraffic, for Rai.

Gaia Ferraguti, head of format programme acquisitions at M.A.D Entertainment, told TBIvision that it had been looking at producing a web series for a while, when this coproduction opportunity came up. "It started as a traditional format deal but now we are co-producing it with Eqal. The original Lonelygirl15 was quite successful in Italy but the biggest problem was the language barrier, so we hope this version has potential here."

 
The deal marks the first time Beckett has sold a format of one of his shows, which also includes Katemodern, and the first non-English language production. Formatted versions of web series are few and far between, but could become big business. Vuguru, Michael Eisner’s digital production company, is currently making a Japanese version of its teen horror series Prom Queen with Rights Management.

The Italian Lonelygirl15 deal comes after Eqal raised US$5 million in funding from a range of investors including Survivor showrunner Conrad Riggs.