Locast, a free streaming app for local broadcast television, said it now has 1.4 million users on the same day it announced launches in two additional Florida markets.
The service is now available to people living in the Miami, Ft. Lauderdale and West Palm Beach TV markets. Locast said it now delivers local TV channels via the internet into 21 U.S. TV markets containing more than 134 million viewers or 41% of the U.S. population.
“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.”
RELATED: Locast launches in Tampa Bay area
Locast last month launched in the Tampa Bay area after already showing up in major cities like New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago and Philadelphia along with much smaller markets like Sioux Falls and Rapid City in South Dakota.
Locast streams full-power broadcast channels in local markets to anyone with an internet connection located within the relevant Nielsen Designated Market Area (DMA). The company's operational costs do not include licensing fees paid to broadcasters. The organization relies on a statute within the Copyright Act that allows a non-profit organization to retransmit local broadcast signals.
Locast is a non-profit, but it asks its users for donations to help cover costs. Goodfriend said that Locast now brings in enough monthly contributions to cover its expenses like broadcast tower leases and the cost of paying software developers. The organization can even pay down some of its debt – Goodfriend took out a loan from an entrepreneur to help get Locast up and running.
“For now I feel we’re growing at an organic rate that’s driven largely by user interest,” said Goodfriend. “If people are more interested, they sign up, and the more people who sign up, the more donors there are.”