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Google, MacFarlane Team For Web Series

1 Jul, 2008 By: Chris Tribbey

Google is becoming a content owner and distributor at the same time.

A New York Times report has confirmed that the Internet giant and “Family Guy” creator Seth MacFarlane are producing a new animated project that will be distributed exclusively on the Internet.

“Seth MacFarlane's Cavalcade of Cartoon Comedy” consists of 50, two-minute episodes, the Times reported, and will be distributed via Google's AdSense advertising platform, which matches Internet ads to relevant Web sites.

Google did not return a request for comment by press time.

The Times reported that instead of ads, the episodes will play with ads streaming at the bottom of the videos or will play before the episodes. MacFarlane also has worked with some advertisers to animate commercials for them.

The Times reported “Cavalcade” will be the highest-priced original Internet content ever produced. A DVD will eventually follow, the Times reported.

“I just felt I could be a lot more honest on the Internet,” MacFarlane told the paper about his reasons for choosing the Internet for the series, calling them “animated versions of the one-frame cartoons you might see in The New Yorker, only edgier.”

MacFarlane, Google, the Web site hosting the episodes, and production company Media Rights Capital each will take home a piece of the revenue, the Times reported.

Russ Crupnick, VP and senior industry analyst for The NPD Group, said because of MacFarlane's star power and the approach Google's taking, the ad-supported content could be a hit.

“These days, it is so easy to skip the ads, close them out,” he said. “But with what he's doing, it may get more eyeballs. There's more engagement.”

Lawyer Karl Austen, who reportedly worked on the deal, told the Times: “We believe the revenue could be formidable. What is exciting is that this is a way to monetize the Internet immediately. Instead of creating a Web site and hoping Seth's fans find it, we are going to push the content to where people are already at.”

Google's Daniel Rubin told CNET Networks that “Cavalcade” will have its own YouTube channel.

“The videos themselves are YouTube videos, and they will live on a YouTube brand channel,” Rubin told CNET. “What's interesting about this deal is that it is branded entertainment: a deal that connects Seth's content with a specific brand advertiser.”

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