Locast, a free streaming app for local broadcast television, has added Minneapolis and St. Paul to the list of cities that can access its service.
Locast said it will deliver 48 local TV channels in the Minneapolis-St. Paul designated market area (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. Locast is accessible to viewers in more than 50 counties in the Minneapolis-St. Paul DMA and in seven counties in western Wisconsin.
The announcement follows other recent Locast market additions including Miami, Ft. Lauderdale and West Palm Beach and Tampa Bay in Florida. Other Locast markets include 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.
The organization said it now offers local TV channels via the internet in 22 U.S. TV markets and serves more than 139 million viewers or 42% of the U.S. population. Locast has more than 1.4 million users.
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.”