Locast now has 2.3M registered users

Locast, a free streaming service for local broadcast television, said it has grown to 2.3 million registered users since launching in January 2018.

The new total comes along shortly after Locast announced Madison, Wisconsin as its latest market and revealed that its user base had exceeded 2 million. The company said it added more than 1 million users in 2020.

Locast attributed the growth largely to cord cutters who have ditched pay TV because of rising rates and to consumers looking for channels that had been blacked out on their cable or satellite TV service.

“Local TV was supposed to be free and widely available. Unfortunately, either because they can’t get an over-the-air signal or can’t afford to pay for cable, satellite, or pay TV streaming services, millions of Americans have been shut out from that promise – until now,” said Locast Founder David Goodfriend in a statement. “Locast is helping to fulfill the promise of ubiquitous, free local TV by providing free local TV channels to phones, tablets, laptops or streaming media devices.”

RELATED: Locast tops 2M users as it launches in Madison, Wisconsin

In addition to the recently announced Madison launch, Locast is also available in Indianapolis, Detroit, Minneapolis-St. Paul, 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.

Locast is a non-profit service that relies on a statute within the Copyright Act to retransmit local broadcast signals. The company asks its users to contribute $5 per month – once they do, they’ll stop seeing donation requests every 15 minutes while they’re using the service.

While the company works on expanding its footprint, it is also contending with a lawsuit brought on by the major U.S. broadcasters – ABC, CBS, Fox and NBC – who allege that Locast is seeking its own commercial benefit rather than just functioning as a broadcast signal booster.

“The Copyright Act of 1976 is clearly on our side, and we believe we will win,” said Goodfriend. “These broadcast giants reap billions of dollars from charging users for programming that’s supposed to be free and are attempting to use their copyrights to maintain market power and force consumers to pay more. The law allows for nonprofits to retransmit local TV channels and to ask for donations to help cover costs. Locast clearly meets these guidelines.”