In a lot of ways TED Talks is the opposite of what you would expect from a viral content creator. It produces 18-minute videos that delve deeply into on esoteric topics like theoretical physics and modern art. Among the skateboarding dogs and teen pop stars, however, this unique approach has found a big audience.
The conference began as “exclusive” invite-only gathering for eggheads to amuse and engage one another. Five years ago it decided to try and expand beyond those who could afford to plunk down a few thousand dollars for a ticket. Today it published its 1,000 episode. The videos have been viewed more than 500,000,000 times.
TED is based in Soho, although its essence has always been Silicon Valley and its currently run by West Coast publisher Chris Anderson. Still its appeal is universal. It’s now attracted 1 million Facebook followers and a million iPad downloads to boot. TED talks have been translated more than 20,000 times into 81 languages.
Not bad for a web series that was turned down by the BBC as “too intellectual”.