| LOS ANGELES
LOS ANGELES A major Hollywood studio and online
search engine Google Inc on unveiled separate moves on Monday
to put movie and TV-like content on the Web, highlighting the
way in which both see the Internet as critical to reaching
Sony Pictures Entertainment, a unit of Sony Corp, said it
plans to make the Will Smith action film "Hancock," which opens
on Wednesday, available online to owners of the Web-connected
Sony Bravia TV before the movie goes out on DVD.
In doing so, the studio is changing, albeit slightly, the
traditional distribution chain of motion pictures. After their
initial run in theaters, movies are typically released on
pay-per-view television services, then via DVD, Internet
downloads or streams, and finally on free broadcast TV.
In another high-profile initiative, Web search and
advertising company Google has signed a deal with Seth
MacFarlane, 34, creator of the Fox animated TV show "Family
Guy," to produce short cartoons for the Web, said Google
spokesman Daniel Rubin.
The cartoons will be paired with advertisements placed on
targeted Web sites, and will also be available on the
Google-owned video-sharing site YouTube.com, Rubin said.
MacFarlane is one of the highest-paid talents in TV after
this year signing a deal reported to have been worth at least
$100 million with 20th Century Fox TV, a unit of News Corp.
While the Internet has many players producing content
exclusively for the Web, it has few creators with the
production budget and pay scale MacFarlane is accustomed to.
Major entertainment companies have increasingly tried to
expand into the Web in recent years. In 2005, News Corp bought
U.S. social networking site MySpace.com for $580 million, and
it has since rolled out different versions in other countries.
Last year, NBC Universal, which is operated by General
Electric Co, teamed up with News Corp to found Hulu.com, a site
that relies on advertising to bring users free episodes of
their favorite shows on the Internet.
While relying on advertising to underwrite the cost of
programming has worked on TV since its inception, the approach
is still meeting with mixed results online.
(Editing by Bob Tourtellotte).