Ciao Salto: the three reasons for the failure of the “French Netflix”

There it’s finished. The closure was announced in mid-February, after months of hesitation and the gradual disengagement of its various stakeholders, namely France Télévisions, TF1, and M6. However, two years earlier, all bet on the possible emergence of a “French Netflix”, mixing exclusive programs and strong brands from French television. It is this Monday that the Salto platform is closing its doors for good.

On January 20, France Télévisions officially announced its disengagement, a few months after the failure of the TF1-M6 merger had seriously weakened the future of the platform. And since February 13,

the platform was no longer accepting new subscribers. From this Monday, it will therefore terminate those who are still subscribers among the 800,000 who have subscribed to the service, and reimburse those who must be, in proportion to the remaining subscription period.

A complex alliance that took nearly five years to achieve

After just over two years of activity, what will remain of Salto? First the memory of a stormy launch. It took nearly five years between the first declarations of intent to create a platform dedicated to French creation against a competitor at the time unique, and the official launch of what became Salto, in 2020.

In the hard, two years of work were necessary for TF1, M6 and France Télévisions to agree and launch their common platform – which does not replace their own replay services, namely MYTF1, 6Play and

A complicated competitive landscape

This is the other point that was a thorn in the side of Salto: the platform had to face competitors who were none other than its own parent companies. The Competition Authority had prohibited channels from promoting Salto on their antennas rather than their own replay platforms. As a result, the platform had to face a lack of notoriety even though, on paper, more than ten DTT channels were linked to Salto. Over its last months of existence, TF1 and M6 have even launched their own paid offers, MyTF1 Max and 6Play Max, supposed to allow programs to be reviewed for longer and above all… To access programs in preview. This is already what Salto offered.

The rest of the competitive landscape hasn’t made it any easier. When the Salto project was launched in 2018, there were two major competitors, Netflix on one side, Canal Plus on the other. When it launched in October 2020, the platform had been overtaken by Disney Plus and Amazon Prime Video, which had already established themselves well in the landscape. The arrival, between 2021 and 2022, of offers from Paramount, Universal, HBO or Warner, themselves integrated in particular into Amazon or Canal, has created increasingly formidable competitors in addition to Netflix.

A lack of exclusive creations

Is the streaming landscape in France solely responsible for the fall of Salto? Not sure. The promise of a platform full of original French creations has not been kept. Firstly because of the health crisis, which made it impossible to film productions in 2020 before the launch, then because certain French creations went to see the competition, as evidenced by the success of “Lupin” on Netflix or the series on the death of Malik Oussekine on Disney+. As a result, the exclusive series offered on Salto were essentially… American. If the platform benefited from peaks when the “reunion shows” of Friends and Harry Potter were released, that was not enough – especially since they were broadcast at full capacity a few weeks later on TF1 .

There remained the previews, precious for fans of series like “More beautiful life” or “Tomorrow belongs to us”, but which does not constitute a sufficient number of subscribers. And the catalogs of the series of the major TV channels, such as “Josephine Ange Gardien”, “HPI”, or “The little murders of Agatha Christie”. Here again, it is difficult to cope with the behemoths that are Netflix and its competitors, capable of releasing an exclusive series per week. As for France Télévisions’ own digital productions, they are always released on Slash, the group’s platform dedicated to young adults.

It is also these platforms that will share the series and fiction that appeared in Salto’s catalog and that did not come from TF1, M6 or France Télévisions, depending on the rights associated with a particular production.

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