French streamer Salto is to be liquidated by shareholders France Télévisions, TF1 and M6, with the latter’s failed merger and “complex and constraining governance” blamed for its demise.
News of Salto’s imminent closure first emerged last month but the streamer’s future had been in doubt for almost six months prior, when TF1 and M6 confirmed they were planning to pull out of the joint venture SVOD following the abandonment of their merger in the face of regulatory opposition.
The streaming service’s third shareholder, France Télévisions, had indicated at the start of 2022 that it would look to exit Salto when news broke of TF1 and M6’s proposed merger.
Delays & deal failure
Salto launched two years ago but has secured less than one million subscribers to date and was beset by regulatory delays. It eventually made it to market years after rivals such as Netflix and Amazon Prime Video had established themselves.
The streamer offered local programming from France TV, M6 and TF1, such as the latter’s Demain Nous Appartient, as well as numerous international shows, including Cineflix’s Canadian dark comedy drama Happily Married (C’est Comme Ça Que Je T’aime).
In a joint statement, TF1, M6 and France TV confirmed plans to liquidate the streamer and pointed to the failure of the TF1 and M6 merger, along with regulatory issues, for Salto’s closure.
“This decision by Salto’s three founder-shareholders follows the abandonment of the proposed merger between TF1 and M6, which would have paved the way for Salto to be taken over by the merged entity,” it read.
“Now that this project has been stopped, the shareholders of Salto have decided that the conditions are not met for Salto to continue with its current ownership structure, given the complex and constraining governance arrangements and the refusal of most internet service providers to distribute the platform, as is the case with the American platforms.”
Amazon and Canal+ had been among potential suitors for the streamer, but the shareholders said none of the expressions of interest “could be brought to a satisfactory conclusion.”
French firm BTSG will now conduct a voluntary liquidation and detail the timetable for the shutdown. France TV, M6 and TF1 said they had “committed to making their best efforts” to find alternative posts for Salto employees.
The statement concluded: “France Télévisions, M6 and TF1 groups would like to pay tribute to the exceptional work accomplished by the talented people at Salto, under the leadership of Thomas Follin, and to express their disappointment at this unfortunate outcome for the French broadcasting industry.”