TED is launching its first-ever foreign TV series in
The program, “TED Talks India: Nayi Soch,” will consist
of eight parts broadcast in Hindi.
Producers expect the program to uplift many India
citizens, women in particular.
TED, the media organization made famous for its viral 18-minute
talks, has launched its first-ever foreign TV series, “TED Talks
India: Nayi Soch.”
Launching on December 10, the eight-part series marks TED’s
biggest step yet in its 33-year evolution from a small California
gathering to a multi-million-dollar behemoth. The program will
air exclusively on the Indian network Star Plus, which reaches
some 650 million people around the nation.
A 33-year-old company reaches its biggest fans
TED has spent the better part of the last decade expanding. Prior
to the new Indian series, the biggest change came in 2009, with
launch of TEDx —a way for independent organizers around the
world to license the TED name and host mini-conferences of their
According to TED’s internal data, India is consistently the
biggest TEDx organizer of any country. The new series was hardly
a coincidence, TED executive producer Juliet Blake told Business
Insider. Star TV chairman and CEO Uday Shankar was looking for
new content, she said, and TED seemed to be the ideal vehicle for
delivering fresh ideas to the masses.
“So in a way they chose us,” Blake told Business Insider.
TED still maintained control over the programming, hand-picking
four to five speakers per hour-long episode and vetting the
topics of the talks. Blake said she avoided discussions of
religion, for example, and leaned on innovative ideas that were
relevant to people in India. At one point, Microsoft CEO Sundar
Pichai made an appearance onstage via a telepresence robot.
A life-changing experience for ‘many women in India’
Blake added that each talk was written in English and then
translated into Hindi for the stage — without any richness of
emotion lost, according to host and Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh
Khan. On several occasions, Khan said he disregarded his prepared
questions for the speakers, instead choosing to speak more from
“I felt a different kind of attraction to them, or
compassion for them, or attachment to them,” Khan told Business
In addition, TED said gender equality was a priority in the
series. At least one female speaker appears in every episode, and
Blake recalled one in particular that received a standing ovation
from a teary-eyed crowd. After the woman’s talk finished, Blake
rushed down from the control room to give her a hug.
“It started off as a brilliant talk,” Blake said. “But it
became something more than a TED talk. I think it will be
life-changing for many women in India.”
On December 11, the show’s several dozen talks will also get
uploaded to the main TED site, where users can watch the videos