New Online TV Model… with Seth MacFarlane!

Google has launched a partnership with Seth MacFarlane, the creator of Family Guy. MacFarlane will produce high-budget short (less than two minutes) episodes of a new program – “Seth MacFarlane’s Cavalcade of Cartoon Comedy.” MacFarlane says that the episodes will be “animated versions of the one-frame cartoons you might see in The New Yorker, only edgier.” The cartoon shorts can be edgier, MacFarlane says, because the FCC polices broadcast TV content so heavily.

The Google-MacFarlane partnership breaks ground in another way: introducing a new distribution and advertising model to the world of online video. According to the New York Times:

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.

This is an innovative new business model that may reshape the way internet distribution and advertising works. Or it may not. Either way, it is crucial for business like Google and content creators like MacFarlane to be able to innovate. Only by leaving the internet relatively unregulated can we ensure that such new ventures are possible.