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FTA channel Hare Krsna TV aims to specialise in motivational talks

The channel processes content from the worldwide centres of ISKCON without advertisements.

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MUMBAI: Mumbai-based surgeon Dr Bimal Shah runs Hare Krsna TV, a free to air (FTA) satellite TV channel. Being a self-funded channel run for social service, several cable operators carry it without a carriage fee. However, the challenge has been with the bigger names in cable and DTH, who are hesitant.

Shah says, “I believe running a channel is the highest form of social service as it caters to both the rich and poor.  A lot of money is spent on content and broadcasting. Cable operators can also be benefitted by carrying this channel because it is unique in its approach and it is not like other devotional channels. Cable operators will have some good content in their bouquet to offer the viewers and eventually retain their subscribers.”

The channel sources, curates and processes content from the worldwide centres of The International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON). The programming lineup consists of temple darshan from various centres of ISKCON, morning darshan and all the aartis. Besides this, a major portion of the programming includes music and satsang. The footages are acquired from 600 ISKCON centres in the world. Considering the pandemic, the channel has had to install multiple camera setup in various ISKCON centres across India for the live feed. Through this medium Shah wants to highlight the importance of Indian and Indo-western culture.

He adds, “Our channel doesn’t just talk about Bhagwat Geeta or our Puranas, but it also conducts a lot of motivational talks that connect to the youth. ISKCON is just not synchronised on religion; we all teach about ancient Vedic philosophies. The content is curated in such a way that could interest all sections of society. It is very similar to other motivational speakers like Jay Shetty and Gaur Gopal Das. It has a lot of practical implementation in day to day life.”

Shah wants to make Hare Krsna TV as a specialised channel which talks about motivational speeches. According to him, unlike in the western world, there is no Indian channel that caters to the need of youth in terms of philosophical topics. He also clarifies that there is no political agenda to start the channel. To provide maximum viewing experience, the channel is also ad-free. It doesn’t even have tele-shoppe or any other kind of promotional shows.

A major part of the funding is done by Shah and his wife and the rest is done with the help of donations. The couple has been associated with ISKCON for more than 34 years.

A team of 31 employees, also ISKCON followers, handle the channel. Technical aspects are looked after by a third-party company named Skandha and satellite broadcasting work is handled by Lamhas.

Launched as a local channel in 2016, Hare Krsna acquired the satellite licence last year. On 11 August 2020 Hare Krsna TV will complete four years since its launch. The channel is currently present in 25 million households.

NXT DIGITAL, GTPL - KCBPL, ORTEL, APFiber, UCN, Siti Maurya Cable, Siti Siri Digital Network, Siti Cable, Hathway MCN,  Den Satellite, DL GTPL, JPR, Bhima Riddhi Infotainment, Take One JK Media, Inspire Digital, Satellite Cable, DDC, Umbrella Cable Systems, Skynet Digital, BRDS and others.

The channel is present in Assam, Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat, Goa, Haryana, Jammu and Kashmir, Kerala, Maharashtra and several other states.

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