I n any location, at any time of day, anywhere in the world, transcendental katha, kirtan, and darshan can be accessed through MayapurTV. This service makes it possible for anyone to attend ISKCON programs and festivals from all over the world virtually.
MayapurTV began life as a congregational preaching resource in 2004, under the name of IskconLife.tv, as a text chat program to serve the UK congregation. As the technology became available, webcam broadcasts of classes and book readings from devotees’ homes were introduced. In 2008, MayapurTV installed cameras in the temple room of ISKCON London, and soon other temples began to use the MayapurTV broadcast service, such as Los Angeles (who had already pioneered this service), Bhaktivedanta Manor, Punjabi Bagh and Mayapur to name a few.
Now, MayapurTV is based in Sri Dham Mayapur as an official division of ISKCON Mayapur. To date, MayapurTV has created channels for over 180 different ISKCON broadcasters worldwide, and runs a forum for these broadcasters to receive ongoing advice and tips. MayapurTV’s technical expert has provided cameras to some of the leading broadcasters at a minimal price to support them. For MayapurTV, supporting other temples is of first priority because they know that these broadcasts help keep many devotees inspired.
MayapurTV’s reach is extensive. It has over 30,000 email subscribers, and over 108,000 likes on Facebook. The website has live and recorded video broadcasts of daily temple events as well as special events and festivals, and live and recorded Shoutcast (audio) broadcasts. MayapurTV also hosts live and recorded Youtube broadcasts and enables devotees streaming to MayapurTV to simultaneously broadcast on Facebook, which is a real technological achievement. Devotees are able to stream to MayapurTV using iPhones, Androids, laptops, and desktops, enabling MayapurTV to feature broadcasts from almost anywhere at any time. The largest broadcast to date was on Nrisimha Caturdasi, with over 2,500 viewers logged on to the MayapurTV website at the same time.
But in addition to all of this, MayapurTV also now broadcasts to five local cable TV companies in West Bengal, which is a huge preaching opportunity that is being continuously developed. The exact number of viewers per channel is not recorded by cable TV, but based on the number of complaints received by the largest cable TV broadcaster whenever broadcasts get interrupted, he suggests that the evening arati broadcasted on his main channel is watched by approximately 2 million viewers. The potential reach of MayapurTV’s cable TV broadcasts is to 10 million people.
MayapurTV is supported entirely by the donations of the many faithful viewers who make the service MayapurTV does possible. In Sri Dham Mayapur, five devotees work full-time on the live broadcasts; at aratis, three or four devotees operate handheld cameras and one does the mixing, which sets a high standard. MayapurTV is overseen by an international board of about ten highly skilled volunteers who manage fundraising, server programming, web design, etc. They keep the MayapurTV broadcast platform updated for the pleasure of devotees worldwide and are always looking for new ways to develop it.
Currently, MayapurTV is working to improve the website design, to improve the recording archives, to implement video chat and browser-based broadcasting, to add an extra server this December to try to double viewership, and to start studiobased show production for Bengali TV, among other things. MayapurTV would also like to encourage more devotees from around the world to take advantage of their services and to broadcast their harinams live from mobile phones on MayapurTV, and to further serve the worldwide congregation in their preaching efforts, Mayapur TV is currently helping other temples connect to their local cable TV networks.
In the age of the internet, MayapurTV aptly utilizes technological advancements in Krishna’s service, performing a service which provides inspiration to thousands of devotees around the world and which preaches to millions. All glories to the dedicated devotees who make this service possible!