Locast, the free TV station streaming service, is now available in 16 markets with its launch in Seattle today (Oct. 30), according to the Sports Fans Coalition New York, which launched the service.
“November tends to be the rainiest month of the year in Seattle, so local weather reports mean more to commuters, families, and business travelers right now. Here’s a forecast for our friends in Seattle: expect more rain, but better access to your local news, weather, and other critical information on Locast,” said founder David Goodfriend.
The addition comes less than two weeks after Locast announced it had added Atlanta and Phoenix.
Broadcasters have sued Locast over the service, which relies on an exception for nonprofits in copyright law to stream the stations without asking their permission or negotiating a fee for carriage.
Locast was launched by the Sports Fans Coalition in part as a way to give viewers access to sports programming during retrans blackouts.
Locast does not charge, but does seek a donation from users.
Alternative ways for MVPDs to get stations that don’t involve going to the local bar or switching to an antenna reduces broadcasters’ leverage in retrans negotiations. for example, AT&T during its recent impasse with Sinclair, suggested Locast as an alternative to stations blacked out by Sinclair.
In their suit, network lawyers said Locast is nothing like the TV translators it purported to resemble. “Locast is not a public service devoted to viewers whose reception is affected by tall building[s] … Instead, Locast’s founding, funding and operations reveal its decidedly commercial purposes,” they said.
Locast had two weeks ago it would be adding more markets before the end of the year, and if it can raise enough via donations, eventually all 210 markets.