Nonprofit streaming service Locast said today that its service has expanded to the Miami-Dade/Ft. Lauderdale and West Palm Beach/Ft. Pierce designated marketing areas.
The expansion, the company said, ups Locast’s number of U.S. TV markets to 21, reaching 134 million viewers, 41% of the U.S. population.
Locast said it now has 1.4 million users.
“For the first time, Floridians located within the Miami and West Palm Beach DMAs will be able to watch their local TV stations on their phones, tablets, laptops or streaming media devices,” said Locast founder and chairman, David Goodfriend, in a statement. “Local TV news is critical for broadcasting alerts about hurricanes, elections and coronavirus-related restrictions, making Locast an important lifeline for South Florida residents and for those who can’t get local TV channels from an off-air antenna or cannot afford a pay-TV subscription.”
Locast delivers more than 40 local TV channels in the Miami-Ft. Lauderdale DMA, including ABC 10, NBC 6, CBS 4, FOX 7, PBS, PBS Kids, Estrella TV, Movies!, The CW, CourtTV, Univision, Telemundo and more. Counties served by the Miami/Ft. Lauderdale DMA include Broward, Miami-Dade and Monroe, including the Florida Keys
West Palm Beach viewers will have access to 28 channels including ABC 25, NBC 5, CBS 12, FOX 29, PBS, and PBS Kids, Azteca America, Mystery, ION, Grit, Justice Network and more. Counties served within the West Palm Beach/Ft. Pierce DMA include Martin, St. Lucie, Okeechobee, Palm Beach North and South, and Indian River.
Founded two years ago by Goodfriend, an attorney and a former Dish Network executive, Locast is a live TV streaming service operated by nonprofit advocacy group the Sports Fan Coalition NY.
Locast provides local broadcast signals over the internet in various cities through an app that’s playable on Roku, Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV, Android TV and TiVo devices, as well as iOS and Android smart phones and tablets. With Locast, you can stream programming on the Big Four broadcast networks (ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox), among other outlets.
Locast operates under a law written into the Copyright Act of 1976 (17 U.S.C. 111(a)(5) that allows nonprofit translator services to rebroadcast local stations without receiving a copyright license from the broadcaster, and even collect a fee to cover the cost of operations. Locast streams signals from local TV stations, all positioned to comply with FCC exclusivity rules. Locast claims it doesn’t have to negotiate retransmission fees from broadcasters, and is exempt from copyright restrictions, unless it’s turning a profit.
In July 2019, ABC, CBS, FOX and NBC filed suit against Locast, comparing it to Aereo and alleging that the streaming service violates their copyrights by retransmitting their programming without permission and compensation. The lawsuit also accuses Locast of allowing its service to be used as a pawn in broadcast retransmission negotiations with Dish and AT&T, operators of the Dish and DirecTV satellite TV companies, respectively.
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