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French broadcasters combine forces in major OTT TV plan

French commercial broadcasters TF1 and M6 Group and public broadcaster France Televisions have teamed up to launch a joint national OTT TV platform, Salto.

The trio plan to launch a joint offering with a variety of programming genres including news and debate, magazine programmes, special events, sports, entertainment and French homegrown drama as well as US series, documentaries and movies. The platform will include avant-premieres of some content.
The broadcasters said the common platform would “actively participate” in the creation of French and European original content.

According to the three participants, Salto will enable viewers to find the best TV shows live and via catch-up but will also provide premieres of new shows, all via a user-friendly interface and with no contract commitment.

The three broadcasters said that they open the platform up to other content providers from its launch.
Salto will offer a number of subscription options. The trio of participating broadcasters said that the platform will coordinate its activities with existing free catch-up TV platforms MYTF1, 6Play and France.tv.

The broadcasters plant to set up a new independent company, controlled in equal parts by each of the three, subject to approval by regulators.

France Televisions director-general Delphine Ernotte Cunci said whe was “delighted with the launch of this common platform”, which “represents a major evolution for the future of the French audiovisual sector”. She said that in the face of competition from global OTT TV platforms, “Salto will allows us to offer a high-quality service to all our audience and to showcase the best of French and European content”.

Gilles Pelisson, CEO of TF1, said that the move was part of the broadcaster’s commitment to “openness and strategic cooperation…with the major French and European players” and would give its stakeholders “all the weapons needed to address the challenges we face and enable us to respond more effectively to the demands of our audience”.

Nicolas de Tavernost, president of M6, meanwhile, said that his company was delighted that “the three principal French television groups are combining their efforts to accelerate and participate in the evolution of television and therefore satisfy the demands of their audiences”.

The initiative follows repeated calls for coordination of the efforts of France’s main broadcasters to address the challenge presented by Netflix and other US internet giants in France, which have recently centered around the idea of creating a ‘French Hulu’.