Tuesday, May 30, 2023

Local Now grows

I read an article on Cord Cutters News this week that surprised me. I did a little digging and found more about it. The numbers in my research are a little different, but the point of Luke Bouma's article is still valid.

The story was that Local Now had topped 450 live streaming channels. That's a big number. And, it is true, but there's a catch. First, a little of what they said:

Recently Local Now topped 450 free live TV channels making it one of the largest free streaming services for cord cutters when looking at the number of free live channels.

Local Now also provides localized news, weather, sports, traffic, and entertainment, produced by various leading news organizations in more than 225 markets across the U.S.

Local Now is not done expanding as it recently announced a deal to add all local PBS stations later this year. No dates have been announced yet for when all of the local PBS stations will be added other than it should happen in 2023. Already though, in a handful of markets, PBS stations are starting to go live on Local Now so check to see if your local PBS is now free with Local Now.

All that is true, but let me tell you why I look at it a little differently.

I counted all the channels, one at a time, starting at the top. Just so you know, these numbers are based on a Savannah, Georgia viewing market.

I counted 487 channels, which is in line with the CCN report of "over 450" channels. But, of those, 117 are local broadcasts. My thinking, which could be wrong, is that people generally won't be interested in local news from other areas, making over 100 of those meaningless for most people. However, that is the backbone of Local Now, so I understand why they should be counted.

However, to me, the main attraction to live streaming services are the live streaming channels that go beyond local news and local interest. Local Now has 370 of those. That is on top of the 117 local offerings, bringing the total to 487, which is by far the largest live streaming service.

CCN said as much, and I don't disagree. Even if you omit the 117 local based streams, the remaining 350 make it one of the largest anyway. The increase in these channels means that Local Now deserves to be though of as similar to Pluto TV, Tubi, FreeVee, Xumo Play, and the other major players in the free ad-supported television (FAST) services.

My Streaming Life hasn't included a lot of Local Now in the past. It will going forward.

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