Established television personalities haven't done well at online video channels, and made money. Seth MacFarlane is now the exception. This Silicon Alley Insider post mentioned 51,000 viewers have subscribed to the Seth Comedy YouTube, launched barely a week ago. The channel, as of now, has 62,700 subscribers. Why did this work? One single factor: MacFarlane, the person. His loyal viewers will go wherever he does. They know how much of him is in every single project he's been involved in. They know he does most of the writing, they know he does most of the voices, and they know each episode of every single show he works on has his hands all over it. They idenitify with it because the Internet Democracy is a success because it's ultimately about one person being able to do it all, be it all, and be everywhere.
Watch the cartoons at SethComedy. Are they breaking new ground in animation? Do you hear them in 5.1 surround sound? Does it have highly sophisticated advertising campaigns that read your iris and zap you so you have the urge to eat bugers? No, the package is as simple as it gets. Would you forgive a show for making you endure 15-seconds pre-roll ads? I found I didn't mind it that much before this one as well as the other one. because the ads became part of the 'Seth Theme'. Good move.
Lesson: Keep things simple. Keep them personal.