AT&T’s Donation to Locast Makes a Lot of Sense Now…





Cheerful family having popcorn while watching television at home

Cheerful family having popcorn while watching television at homeOver the last month, AT&T has become a huge supporter of Locast, a free with ads streaming service that gives users access to local TV channels. Recently, AT&T added Locast to DIRECTV and U-verse set-top boxes. Later, AT&T donated $500,000 to Locast to support the nonprofit group that runs it.

Now the reasons behind AT&T’s support of Locast make great sense. This week AT&T dropped Nexstar-owned locals including many ABC, CBS, FOX, and NBC locals. AT&T’s support of Locast gives them leverage over local owners like Nexstar when they ask for a price hike.

Now that AT&T has Locast on its DIRECTV and U-Verse TV boxes, AT&T subscribers in major markets like New York, Philadelphia, Boston, Washington DC, Chicago, Houston, Dallas, Denver, Los Angeles, and San Francisco can watch their locals even after AT&T drops them because of contract talks.

Efforts to find ways around paying local stations from major cable TV companies has been happening for years. In the past, during blackouts, many cable companies offered free or cheap antennas. Now they are offering Locast.

DISH’s head of Sling TV has for years now been pushing back on the cost of locals. According to Sling TV, the cost of local TV stations will soon be $16 a month. With $16 of your TV bill going to locals, you can see why AT&T and others are looking for a way around that cost.

As subscriber numbers drop look for fights like AT&T’s current fight with Nexstar to become more common. AT&T has fewer subscribers, and Nexstar is looking for more money. At some point as cord cutting grows this trend of higher and higher TV bills will need to end. The only question is when will that happen.

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