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Family Guy creator's sellout to Google almost complete

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Google is revealing new details on the recruitment of Family Guy creator Seth MacFarlane to attract prime-time television advertising dollars to web-only video content.

In September, the search giant plans to roll out a series of animated clips funded by its AdSense network called "Seth MacFarlane's Cavalcade of Cartoon Comedy," according to the New York Times.

The story of a MacFarlane/Google advertising matchup has been swimming around the 'net for about a year — so the Gotham rag is a bit late to the punch. But it has gathered up some details on the pact which are interesting.

The original video shorts will serve as a flagship for the Google Content Network, which has until now has only experimented with in-stream video ads. Google's plan for securing massive advertising figures for video content is to bring the content to the user, rather than the other way around.

Cavalcade is described to The Times as "animated versions of the one-frame cartoons you might see in The New Yorker, only edgier". So, er, the bar has been set pretty low.

The shorts will be embedded on thousands of independent web sites frequented by MacFarlane's target audience (young men under 30) as free, ad-supported streams.

The series will be funded by advertising put into the feed via a mix of pre-roll ads, video banners, and "brought to you by..." messages prefacing the clips, according to The Times. MacFarlane will also offer to animate original commercials for a more substantial fee.

Google and MacFarlane aren't saying which advertisers are currently onboard with the idea, although they claim several deals mark the largest AdSense buys ever.

“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,” said Karl Austen, a lawyer who worked on the deal, speaking to The Times.

MacFarlane has already created 50 "episodes" for the campaign, which run about two minutes each. So that's a clip with at least 1/3 of the time dedicated to advertising if it uses a pre-roll commercial slot. Perhaps a bit tedious for an audience — but easy money in the bank for MacFarlane. ®

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