As you may know, we’re redesigning TED.com. It will be the same TED you love — just a little better and much more able to address the needs of our global, mobile audience. Part of our work in creating TED 2.0 includes reevaluating how we measure things. Especially, video views. “Number of views” is a widely shared and aspired for metric, but there’s no real agreement on the Internet as to what should count as a “view.” We think it’s important that it be as accurate as possible, and are making some changes to a more rigorous methodology that takes into account some of the technology shifts that have happened recently on the web.
The view count you’ve seen on the talk page is limited to views on that page. But TED Talks are viewed on more than 50 platforms, of which TED.com is just one; others include podcasts, mobile apps, YouTube and Netflix to name just a few. Our goal is to count views from any of these sources which we can accurately measure and track. This change will affect the view numbers you see, and will provide a much more complete picture of the reach of a talk, including a breakdown of views by platform. You can see this on the site now.
To improve the precision of our data, the talk page view count will now exclude traffic from automated research sources — including the growing use of automated tools and web-bots to “scrape” video pages and thereby create views of talks no human ever sees. For some talks that impact will be negligible, while for others there may be a more notable change. Currently, we have auto-play on our site, but for TED 2.0, we are moving to click-to-play. Together, these changes will capture a more effective and deliberate measure of video views.
This change is something we are very excited about. Each and every talk has a life of its own, and our new view count will give a better reflection of how an idea ripples out. Below, see how our view count has changed…