Current Issue
This Month's Print Issue

Follow Fast Company

We’ll come to you.

1 minute read

Face-Off: TED Talks vs.

Miss TED or some other egghead confab? Watch it online! Inside the battle to build a Web-video destination for smart grown-ups.

Face-Off: TED Talks vs.
WHAT CAN YOU WATCH? A total of more than 596 talks available, all from TED's two annual conferences, TED (February, in California) and TEDGlobal (July, in Oxford, England). More than 10,000 talks available, in whole or in part, from 160 presenters at venues such as the Cambridge Union Society and the New York Public Library.
WHO'S WATCHING About 11 million streams served per month; 60% of viewers are overseas. More than 2 million streams served per month; 41% of viewers are overseas.
SLOGAN (WHAT IT REALLY MEANS) "Ideas worth spreading" ("Isn't technology great? We can use it to save the world.") "The world is thinking" ("Isn't technology great? We can use it to watch these videos.")
PARADIGMATIC VIWER Penn Jillette: intelligent, tech savvy, sometimes funny, a bit of a blowhard Tom Friedman, or the hippest humanities professor at Williams College
FOLLOW THE MONEY Not-for-profit; revenue via Web-site ad placements, conference fees, and sponsorships. Corporate partners include BMW, GE, and IBM. For-profit; revenue from on-site sponsorships (e.g., Chevron) and ad splits with distribution partners such as Hulu. Expects to break even this year.
MOST POPULAR VIDEOS Oceanographer David Gallo on "underwater astonishments"; Pattie Maes of the MIT Media Lab demo-ing an alternate interface to the human environment MythBusters's Adam Savage on "colossal failures"; astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson on "America's irrational love affair with Pluto"
VIEWEING EXPERIENCE Crisp white, with accents of steel gray and red. Think lunch at the Googleplex. Somber charcoal gray and black. Think Master's Tea at Yale.

A version of this article appeared in the March 2010 issue of Fast Company magazine.