French regulators have cleared Salto – also referred to as the ‘French Netflix’ – to begin operations, with an eye on launching early next year.
The long-anticipated SVOD service from commercial broadcasters TF1 and M6 and public broadcaster France Télévisions today (12 August) received the greenlight from the country’s competition watchdog, the Autorité de la Concurrence.
The project, which is a joint venture between the three broadcasters, was initially referred to the European Commission (EC), which took six months to decide to kick the decision back to the French watchdog – a deferral that prompted France Télévisions’ CEO Delphine Ernotte Cunci to publicly decry the delay at March’s Series Mania event as “absurd”.
However, now that regulators have waved through the JV, Salto is poised to mark a major milestone for the French audiovisual sector as it looks to compete with cash-flush SVODs.
Plans for Salto pre-dated the UK’s BritBox as the first major European project uniting a national public broadcaster and leading commercial players; however, the latter platform is set to launch in the final quarter of this year, while Salto will debut only in 2020.
The launch of the platform will very soon give us what we need to compete against international players on our own territory. And it will be a new way for the French and European creative industries to engage with their public.
France Télévisions’ Cunci said: “Now that Salto has been approved, we will at last be able to put together Team France in broadcasting, which I have been longing for.
“The launch of the platform will very soon give us what we need to compete against international players on our own territory. And it will be a new way for the French and European creative industries to engage with their public.”
Gilles Pélisson, CEO of the TF1 group, added: “I am pleased that this project is becoming a reality, embodying as it does a new ambition for the French broadcasting industry. The Antitrust Authority’s ruling is a very positive sign, as it demonstrates the authority’s awareness for the need to support and accompany industry players in making the necessary innovative changes in order to face new challenges.”
Nicolas de Tavernost, chairman of the M6 Group executive board, added: “This ruling finally gives us the opportunity to work together to develop an offer and a platform that are in phase with changing usage. Our channels are popular with French people, our content is attractive and our technology is very advanced: all reasons to welcome the forthcoming launch of an ambitious joint offer like Salto.”