Free TV Services

Free TV Services in Danger As TV Networks Sue Locast

Business

Major TV Networks such as ABC, CBS, Fox, and NBC have filed a lawsuit against Locast. It is a Nonprofit Organization (NPO) which provides free online access to broadcasting stations. These broadcast networks have done so seeking financial damages and a permanent statement that would close Locast. The TV networks are generally freely available over the air and can be accessed using an antenna. But broadcasting networks have done business out of it using retransmission consent and right to retransmit.

In the year 2018 alone, broadcasting networks reportedly collected 10.1 billion USD via retransmission fees which apply to satellite and cable networks. Further, cable and satellite networks received this from consumers as broadcast TV fees. Locast acts as a digital translator, i.e., it acts like a traditional broadcast service. But, instead of using conventional over-the-air method to boost the signal, it streams it via the internet. Consumers can further access it using the internet and enjoy free TV. It has massively affected the TV networks market as they won’t be able to generate revenue from retransmission fees. Besides, if such digital transmitters keep increasing, the TV networks might face a loss.

Major TV networks have filed a lawsuit against Locast seeking financial damages, to combat the situation. The group of networks is also urging for a permanent injunction that would shutter Locast. If successful, other players will not dare to enter the market. Whereas, Locast is an NPO and carries out operations via donations. But, the TV networks claim that it has bankrolled money from the satellite TV industry as AT&T donated 500,000 USD to Locast and the founder has ties with dish Networks. The Locast Founder, Mr. Goodfriend, had said, that he is set for the fight. According to Mr. Goodfriend, they are functioning within the law and are not doing anything wrong. If Locast wins this lawsuit, it will open the gate for free TV services. On the other hand, if the network services win, the consumer will continue paying extra charges as retransmission fees.