TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design) is a global set of conferences run by the private non-profit Sapling Foundation, under the slogan “Ideas Worth Spreading”. TED was founded in 1984 as a one-off event; the annual conference series began in 1990. TED’s early emphasis was technology and design, consistent with its Silicon Valley origins, but it has since broadened its focus to include talks on many scientific, cultural, and academic topics.
The main TED conference is held annually in Vancouver, Canada, and its companion TEDActive is held in Whistler, British Columbia.
ince June 2006, the talks have been offered for free viewing online, under an Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs Creative Commons license, through TED.com. As of February 2015, over 1,900 talks are freely available on the website. In June 2011, the talks’ combined viewing figure stood at more than 500 million, and by November 2012, TED talks had been watched over one billion times worldwide. Not all TED talks are equally popular, however. Those given by academics tend to be watched more online, and art and design videos tend to be watched less than average.
TEDx are independent TED-like events, which can be organized by anyone who obtains a free license from TED, agreeing to follow certain principles. TEDx events are non-profit, but may use an admission fee or commercial sponsorship to cover costs. Similarly, speakers are not paid. They must also relinquish the copyrights to their materials, which TED may edit and distribute under a Creative Commons license.
As of January 2014, TEDx talk library contained some 30,000 films and presentations from over 130 countries.
TEDMED is an annual conference focusing on health and medicine. It is an independent event operating under license from the nonprofit TED conference.
The TED Prize was introduced in 2005. Until 2010, it annually granted three individuals $100,000 and a “wish to change the world”. Each winner unveils their wish at the main annual conference. Since 2010, in a changed selection process, a single winner is chosen to ensure that TED can maximize its efforts in achieving the winner’s wish.