The Mumbai Police, on Thursday, 8 October, said that it had unearthed a 'TRP scam', in which Republic TV and two other Marathi channels were found to be manipulating TRPs, in the course of investigation.
The two other channels are Box Cinema and Fakht Marathi. The police have also arrested the owners of these channels – Shirish Pattanshetty of Fakht Marathi and Narayan Sharma of Box Cinema. The promoters and owners of Republic TV are also expected to be brought in for questioning.
However, while a lot is known about the Republic Network, both Fakht Marathi and Box Cinemas are relatively obscure. Here is what we know about them.
The website of Box Cinema says that it is a "Free To Air (FTA) Hindi Movies Channel" which was launched by Trishul Ads, promoted by Narayan Sharma, "who have been veterans in the media and the entertainment industry with over 20 years of work experience." The company’s other directors are Ajay Sharma and Pawankumar Sharma.
Narayan has also been running ‘Trishul Ads’, a city-based advertising agency, for the past 23 years.
It is a general entertainment channel that airs both old and new movies, which include Hindi movies, as well as Hindi-dubbed versions of South India movies.
It airs movies across genres including romance, action, thriller, horror, comedy etc.
However, in spite of there being allegations of TRP tampering against Box Cinemas, it does not feature on Broadcast Audience Research Council’s (BARC) top watched list in the general entertainment category.
Unlike Box Cinema, though, Fakht Marathi is in the top five in the BARC ratings, in its category, Marathi general entertainment.
The channel is owned by Enter10 Television Private Limited, a Madhya Pradesh-based company. Pattanshetty, who was arrested by the Mumbai Police, is a co-promoter of the channel.
The company runs four television channels, reports ThePrint. The other three are Hindi movie channel Enterr10, general entertainment channel Dangal and 24-hour Bhojpuri movie channel Bhojpuri Cinema.
The channel was initially started as a free-to-air Marathi movie channel, and started airing general entertainment shows last year.
Along with Marathi shows, cutting across genres, the channel also airs dubbed versions of Hindi entertainment shows on other channels.
A report states that the channel's viewership increased by 30-35 per cent in the six weeks between March and May, during which the country saw a nationwide lockdown to contain the spread of the coronavirus.
However, ThePrint report quotes Pattanshetty saying that ad revenues in that time have fallen as there was no advertising except for essential products.
Currently, Fakht Marathi occupies the fifth position in its category in the BARC rating, and made a foray into the top five in February.
(With inputs from The Print)