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TED Hires MTV’s Colin Helms as Head of Media (EXCLUSIVE)

Colin Helms is departing MTV after more than a decade to join TED, the organization famous for its thought-provoking “talks” and conferences.

As head of media for TED, Helms will oversee strategy and operations of the org’s core media business, including video production, new format development, distribution, social media, mobile and design. Part of his mandate will be exploring new distribution deals in TV, radio and other content platforms.

Most recently, Helms was senior VP of connected content at Viacom Media Networks’ MTV overseeing the network’s multiscreen initiatives, including the development and programming of original video, editorial and social media content across web, mobile and social platforms. Before joining MTV in 2005, he was a founding editor of Complex magazine and was editor-in-chief of music magazine CMJ.

“It’s more important than ever to give ‘ideas worth spreading’ their greatest potential audience,” said TED curator Chris Anderson. “Colin’s expertise navigating today’s media landscape — at once vast and unpredictable — will help us expand that mission into an exciting new future.”

Helms, who will be based in TED’s New York office, said his team’s challenge is to make TED “available and relevant to audiences we haven’t reached yet.”

“Media behaviors and habits vary depending on so many factors — geography, economics, cultural norms, you name it — and our job is to meet these audiences where they already are,” he said.

TED has produced more than 2,300 talks from speakers ranging across topics including science, business and global issues that are usually 18 minutes or less. TED (which stands for Technology, Entertainment and Design) began in 1984 and now hosts several events and invitation-only conferences every year. TED is owned by the Sapling Foundation, a private nonprofit foundation established in 1996 by Anderson, a publishing entrepreneur who previously founded Future Publishing.

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