Received wisdom not yet in place for the Internet

Received wisdom not yet in place for the Internet

Lately, I spent some time talking to a guy whose job it is to advise another guy (one with more money) exactly what the future holds for the media. In that kind of job, it’s important to have forceful, reasoned views that point the way to concrete action. Why else would the latter pay the former to tell him what to do with his money? As required, the former went out and did scads of research into the future of the Internet—most importantly how to “monetize” content, which is the question pretty much everyone’s asking at the moment. At one point, he patted a stack of papers in front of him and announced that research shows people don’t want to watch TV on the Internet; they want to watch TV on their TVs. He said this in an effort to buttress his argument that people don’t “migrate” from one media to another (radio to TV, TV to the Internet, the Internet to another solar system, etc., etc.). Why then is The New York Times reporting that Google—one of the experts on how to monetize the Web—has just signed a deal with the creator of the cartoon Family Guy, Seth MacFarlane, to provide Web-only distribution for original material?

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.

In an interview, he described the instalments as “animated versions of the one-frame cartoons you might see in The New Yorker, only edgier.”

Whoa, now there’s a thought: New Yorker–style cartoons migrating to the Web, “only edgier.” All of which suggests that, on the Web, there’s no such thing as received wisdom.

Google and Creator of ‘Family Guy’ Strike a Deal [New York Times]