1 Billion Views: The Viral Rise of TED Talks in One Chart

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TED, the Technology, Entertainment, and Design mega franchise of ideas, has announced that it has amassed more than 1 billion views since it posted the first talks online in 2006. They've created an interactive chart that chronicles "great moments" along the way to 1 billion views. Here's a screen shot:


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"Our most recent metrics show that TED Talks are being viewed at a rate of 1.5 million times a day," they write, "which means that a new viewing commences 17 times a second." That's a staggering number, so where are these views coming from? TED.com, YouTube, Netflix, iTunes, and other platforms like Virgin America's in-flight programming. 

Six years in, the "experiment" of putting the videos online is an obvious success but at the time TED wasn't sure it would work. Most lecture-style talks captured on video are agonizingly dull to watch online, a slow trickle of information that can't compete with the many visually stimulating distractions out there -- it's just faster to read a transcript. TED Talks succeeded, though, by packing as many brilliant ideas into a few minutes as possible -- a strategy that many successful web video series (like YouTube's EDU channels) use now. 

TED has a few curated lists prepared for this special occasion, curated by Reggie Watts, Ben Affleck, Bill Gates, and others. You can also check out their YouTube playlist of their 20-most-watched videos here -- or The Onion's spot-on spoof here

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Kasia Cieplak-Mayr von Baldegg is the executive producer for video at The AtlanticMore

Cieplak-Mayr von Baldegg joined The Atlantic in 2011 to launch its video channel and, in 2013, create its in-house video production department. She leads the development and production of original documentaries, interviews, and other video content for The Atlantic. Previously, she worked as a producer at Al Gore’s Current TV and as a content strategist and documentary producer in San Francisco. She studied filmmaking and digital media at Harvard University.
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