The long agony of the Salto platform, supposed for a time to be a “French Netflix”, could end shortly with its disappearance, expected for weeks but which now seems imminent. Launched in October 2020 and owned equally by France Télévisions, TF1 and M6, Salto announced on its homepage on Monday that it was no longer taking new subscribers. An announcement accompanied by what looks very much like an epitaph: “Thank you to all Salto subscribers for sharing with us their desire and their enthusiasm for a streaming platform made in France.” From a source familiar with the matter, formal announcements on the future of the platform could intervene “by Wednesday evening”. But as of Monday evening, the M6 group, which presented its 2022 results, announced that it had provisioned in its accounts its share of the liquidation costs of Salto, for around 22 million euros, and redirected its investments towards its own streaming. “Procedures are underway to turn the Salto page and focus on our business”, “we are more of a company that finances its activities through advertising”, commented the chairman of the management board of M6 Nicolas de Tavernost. A dissolution would not be a surprise: the future of the platform has been compromised for months, and there was the abandonment at the end of September of the marriage between TF1 and M6, to which France Télévisions had to resell its share to complete its budget. On January 20, the public group had announced its disengagement from the platform during an extraordinary central social and economic committee (CSE). , Agile, was a candidate for a cover of Salto as a whole. Salto employed 42 people on permanent contracts and 8 on fixed-term contracts in mid-January, for an estimated number of subscribers of around 800,000. The subscription cost 7.99 euros per month (or 5.80 for a subscription taken over one year). If the disappearance of the platform is confirmed, its employees could find positions in the shareholder companies, from which some of them also came. Beyond the failure of the TF1/M6 merger, Salto suffered from a confused strategy and multiple obstacles, in a market dominated by American giants such as Netflix, Disney+ or Amazon Prime Video. promote the “radiation of French and European audiovisual creation” was distinguished by some nice exclusives coming straight… from America, with in particular the show Friends: Les Retrouvailles or the sequel to Sex and the City. It also offered many repeat broadcasts or previews of programs produced by its shareholders, such as the daily soap operas of TF1 (Here everything begins, Tomorrow belongs to us) and France 2 (Un si grand soleil). at the same time developed their own online platforms, which competed with Salto by offering some of its programs for free and by offering more and more online previews. Similarly, TF1 and M6 have each launched a paid subscription streaming service without advertising, for 2.99 euros per month the first year, then 3.99 euros per month, i.e. a cheaper subscription than Salto. in addition suffered from a delay in ignition: announced in 2018, it took more than a year for this unprecedented project bringing together private channels and public service to receive the green light from the Competition Authority, the file having passed in the hands of European authorities. The launch, scheduled for the first quarter of 2020, had been postponed to the fall, therefore after the rise of Netflix and the arrival of Disney+ during confinement. The constraints imposed on shareholders by the Competition Authority, in particular in in terms of supply, have represented an “obstacle course”, assured Nicolas de Tavernost two years ago before the Senate. “We are doing everything so that it does not work”, he had launched. Finally, Salto could hardly compete in terms of financing, with 135 million euros invested by its shareholders, far from the billions disbursed by Netflix and others.
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