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Locast Expands Into the Midwest With Launches in Minnesota and Wisconsin Markets

Stephanie Sengwe

Locast continues to grow as they have now entered the Minnesota and Wisconsin markets. Today, the nonprofit local broadcast TV streaming service announced they are now available in 50 counties in the Minneapolis and St. Paul markets in Minnesota, as well as seven counties in western Wisconsin.

“For the first time, more than four million Minnesotans 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. “Local TV news is critical for receiving alerts about the 2020 elections, coronavirus-related safety information as well as staying informed about people in the community voicing their opinions through peaceful protest. This makes Locast an important lifeline for Minnesotans, especially for those who can’t get local TV channels from an off-air antenna or cannot afford a pay-TV subscription.”

Locast delivers 48 local TV channels in the Minneapolis and St. Paul designated market areas (DMA), including KSTP ABC 5, KARE NBC 11, WCCO CBS 4, KMSP FOX 9, PBS, PBS Kids, MOVIES!, Antenna TV, The CW, CourtTV, GRIT, Univision, Telemundo and more.

Now at 1.4 million users, the service delivers local TV channels to 22 U.S. TV markets and serves more 42 percent of the U.S. population.

Just last month, Locast announced they are available in Miami, Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach in Florida. The news came after the service announced they were available in Tampa, St. Petersburg and Clearwater back in June.

Since last July, Locast has been battling ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox, which claim the service is in violation of copyright laws. In their lawsuit, the networks argue that when Locast retransmits their signals, it strips out vital information, including Nielsen codes that are used to measure ratings. In addition, the networks also claim that if Locast is truly a nonprofit, and not helping AT&T and Dish, then there is no reason to require registration or gather its own consumer data — both of which Locast currently does.

In a countersuit filed in September, Locast accused ABC, NBC, Fox and CBS of collusion. Locast claimed the networks interfered in a potential partnership with YouTube TV by disallowing it to provide access or Google would be “punished by the big four broadcasters.” The broadcasters — which own cable channels such as ESPN, Bravo, Fox News and Showtime — could band together and pressure Google as well as other pay-TV operators by refusing to sell their cable channels, Locast suggested.

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