FilmOn adds dozens of new broadcast channels

FilmOn screen showing KVOS SeattleYou know what FilmOn needs? A blog.

If our favorite free streaming TV provider had a blog, it could add a post every time something new happened in one of its lawsuits. The FilmOn blog could have noted, as did Wendy Davis of MediaPost, that a couple of weeks ago broadcasters had filed an “emergency motion” to block FilmOn’s appeals until the US Supreme Court rules on the similar Aereo lawsuit. Then FilmOn could have added another post today when, over FilmOn’s objection, a court agreed with that emergency motion and put FilmOn’s appeals on ice, as reported by Colin Mann of Advanced Television. And during legal quiet periods, which now seem likely for a few months, FilmOn founder Alki David could direct his flow of pronouncements and opinions into a regular column in the blog.

One more legal note, the organization behind Chicago PBS station WTTW countersued FilmOn last week, according to yet another fine story by Wendy Davis. FilmOn had asked the courts there for a declaratory judgment that it’s not infringing copyright; this was WTTW’s answer that it strongly disagrees. More about WTTW in a moment.

As much as I’d love to see all these legal proceedings collected under one roof, the main reason I wish FilmOn had a blog is that it might use it to explain what the heck it’s doing with its channels, particularly US over-the-air broadcast channels. A couple of weeks ago, its free service added almost 40 new OTA stations, including superstations, digital sub-channels, and a dozen PBS affiliates. (Some of the new channels have a cute Linux desktop frame, as shown above.)

There’s so much to enjoy about these new channels, mainly because they don’t duplicate programming from the Big Four broadcast networks. There are a dozen CW affiliates, including superstations WGN, KWGN, KTLA, and WPIX. The dozen PBS affiliates, including WTTW, often run local programming too. There are three true independents, from Tampa FL, Atlanta (Peachtree) and Los Angeles. And there are affiliates of the little networks: My Network, MeTV, The Cool, Cozi, Bounce, PBS Kids, PBS World, V-Me, ion (or is it ion Life?), and Qubo.

For a few days last week, FilmOn also offered most of the OTA stations and sub-channels from the Los Angeles market, minus the Big Four affiliates. Today, they’re all gone, an example of why I hesitate to write about new FilmOn channels that can vanish as quickly as they appear. Why did they leave? Will they come back? An official blog could answer those questions.

FilmOn appears to be delivering this prime array of supplemental OTA TV to everyone regardless of market, as opposed to the Big Four affiliates in New York, which are only visible to NYC area viewers. It’s an amazing resource. I wonder how long these will last, or what FilmOn will do next. Sure wish they had a blog to tell us.