Google and Family Guy Creator Seth MacFarlane in Content Deal

Posted on June 30, 2008

Google and Family Guy creator Seth MacFarlane have cut a deal to create short web episodes. According to the New York Times, MacFarlane says the shows will be "animated versions of the one-frame cartoons you might see in The New Yorker, only edgier."
In September, Seth MacFarlane, creator of "Family Guy" on television, will unveil a carefully guarded new project called "Seth MacFarlane's Cavalcade of Cartoon Comedy." Unlike "Family Guy," which is broadcast on Fox, this animation series will appear exclusively on the Internet.

The innovative part involves the distribution plan. Google will syndicate the program using its AdSense advertising system to thousands of Web sites that are predetermined to be gathering spots for Mr. MacFarlane�s target audience, typically young men. Instead of placing a static ad on a Web page, Google will place a "Cavalcade" video clip.

Advertising will be incorporated into the clips in varying ways. In some cases, there will be "preroll" ads, which ask viewers to sit through a TV-style commercial before getting to the video. Some advertisers may opt for a banner to be placed at the bottom of the video clip or a simple "brought to you by" note at the beginning.

Mr. MacFarlane, who will receive a percentage of the ad revenue, has created a stable of new characters to star in the series, which will be served up in 50 two-minute episodes.
Google is calling this new content distribution service that MacFarlane will be using the Google Content Network. Google is pretty optimistic about the model. Kim Malone Scott, director of sales and operations for AdSense, told the New York Times that "We feel that we have recreated the mass media." AdSense does have a lot of reach so presumably a lot of people will see the short MacFarlane shows.