With affordable video broadcasting available for nonprofits and individuals, it continues to be a great solution for offering teachings to those all over the globe who could not attend events in person. The recent Pema Chodron retreat, organized by Mangala Shri Bhuti (MSB) and powered by Cleeng, proves that Pay-per-view offers a powerful way of bringing together spiritual communities, and supporting their growth.
I had a pleasure of talking to Wendy Conquest, Video Streaming Producer at Mangala Shri Bhuti, who lead the online pay-per-view for this retreat. How does live streaming benefit their community, and what are their future plans for pay-per-view? Read further to learn more.
M.Z.: You’ve just embraced Pay-per-view for the latest Pema Chodron’s retreat. Can you tell me what inspired you to go live online and what do you think of this new way of approaching the buddhist community?
W.C.: Providing live video streaming online, along with recordings, is a wonderful way of sharing Buddhist teachings. We receive emails from viewers all over the world, who express appreciation and gratitude for the chance they wouldn’t otherwise have had to “attend” one of MSB’s programs.
Kongtrul Rinpoche is a willing innovator and MSB has been experimenting for a while with different online applications in order to reach our world-wide community of people interested in Buddhism. MSB has an online community with over 60,000 Facebook friends and over 7,000 Twitter followers.
Dzigar Kongtrul Rinpoche, Buddhist teacher
When affordable video broadcasting became available for nonprofits and individuals, it felt natural to begin to experiment with that for our programs. The recent Pema Chodron program extended our offering to a whole new level, offering teachings to those all over the globe who could not attend our events in person.
Pema Chodron, American Buddhist nun and teacher
Adding pay-per-view video streaming to Pema Chodron’s intimate retreat in Vermont, significantly expanded our audience and thus provided a substantial contribution to our temple project.
M.Z.: Why did you choose Cleeng? What do you like in our solution, and how do you, your customers and communities benefit from it?
W.C.: Monetizing such a large, live video streaming program was unknown territory for us. I dug around on the web to learn anything I could. This mysterious name “Cleeng,” kept coming up. I soon came to learn more about how SaaS works, and Cleeng looked like just the resource we needed.
We talked to a few streaming platforms and learned that Cleeng is a well known SaaS with an impressive customer base. The fact that they also offer free services and take a reasonable revenue percentage meant that small organizations and non-profits like ours wouldn’t be excluded.
Most impressive to us was how the Cleeng staff– from sales to tech support– spent hours through phone, email, and video conferencing to help us understand and set up the exact streaming options we wanted to offer. And in terms of solutions, I like them all:
Cleeng’s website; the ease of handling currencies from all over the world; the analytics; the viewer page set up; the ease of using coupons; and publisher and viewer support. From my end, viewer support was the most valuable.
As the producer, it is a huge challenge to take care of viewer questions during a live broadcast and Cleeng took that off my shoulders. We could even pass the emails related to technical questions that came our way on to Cleeng. It was a great relief.
M.Z.: What is the most difficult part about pay-per-view and how did we help you solve it?
W.C.: By far, the most significant challenge has been handling ticket sales. Cleeng made it extremely simple with both their accounting and currency conversions. The records are complete and easy for our financial team to use. In addition, they were incredibly helpful getting us acquainted with the ins and outs of the platform through informational articles and real-person support.
M.Z.: Spiritual leaders / teachers are embracing the online factor with caution. What do you think is the reason?
W.C.: Our daily lives are so media saturated and so much time now is spent relating to screens that we can’t help but notice a decline in face-to-face human interaction. In that respect, caution is understandable.
Sangdo Palri Temple of Wisdom and Compassion, Crestone Colorado, USA
At the same time, I see MSB’s adoption of technology as an asset that is helping Buddhism take root in the West. For many MSB students, and people interested in Buddhism, the opportunity to see and hear Dzigar Kongtrul Rinpoche on their own laptop far surpasses not seeing or hearing him at all. And you don’t need to look over anyone’s shoulder.
M.Z.: What are your plans for the coming months/ years?
W.C.: We are working again with Cleeng in July to offer a pay-per-view live stream of the Nyingma Summer Seminar (NSS), July 11–19, in the mountains of Colorado. We will stream eighteen talks that will present a complete survey of the Buddhist path through teachings on the Three Yanas: Hinayana, Mahayana, and Vajrayana. Streamers will be able to sign up for one talk, or all eighteen.
Dzigar Kongtrul Rinpoche will be the primary teacher at NSS and Dungse Jampal Norbu (Kongtrul Rinpoche’s dharma heir), and Elizabeth Mattis Namgyel (his wife and most senior student) will join Rinpoche in co-teaching NSS. In addition, special guest Pema Chodron will give one talk on July 14. A few hundred people will receive these teachings in person, and streaming using Cleeng’s platform, will allow anyone to receive these teachings from across the globe.
M.Z.: What words of wisdom do you have for other spiritual teachers that plan to embrace the pay-per-view? What’s important?
W.C.: I can’t presume to offer wisdom to any spiritual teacher, but here’s a practical suggestion: make sure you have high speed internet!
Follow in the footsteps of the MSB,
and see how Live PPV can empower your spiritual community.
|Mangala Shri Bhuti (MSB) is a nonprofit Tibetan Buddhist organization founded by Dzigar Kongtrul Rinpoche with the intention to bring Buddhist teachings to the West.|
|Kongtrul Rinpoche has trained in all aspects of Buddhist doctrine, and he began teaching in the United States 25 years ago as a professor of Buddhist philosophy at Naropa University. He is the author of four books on Buddhism, including It’s Up to You and has students from all over the world. Dzigar Kongtrul Rinpoche teaches five core programs a year from MSB’s study and practice centers: Phuntsok Choling in the mountains above Boulder, Colorado, and Pema Osel Do Ngak Choling in Vershire, Vermont. Thanks to video streaming, MSB is now able to share these teachings with people far and wide. You can find out more about Rinpoche and MSB’s activities at www.mangalashribhuti.org.|