Article updated on October 21, 2019 with the latest information on the financial investment planned by Salto shareholders in the platform. France Télévisions, M6 and TFI have revised upwards the amount they planned to inject into their streaming service. Good news that will undoubtedly allow him to consider more serenely his deployment in the Hexagon current 2020.
We mentioned it a little while ago by relaying information from Letter A: France Télévisions, M6 and TF1, the three audiovisual groups behind the project "Netflix à la française", have decided to put more money on the table. Farewell the 45 million originally announced, it is 135 million euros which should now be used to finance the launch of Salto. Also distributed among the three audiovisual groups, this increased investment should cover all costs of deployment of the service (creation of the company, advertising, acquisition of programs …).
Salto obviously plans to stock up on the catalog of channels of the three shareholders. However, it can not be content with it, at the risk of not really adding value. The thinking heads of the platform are probably already busy to buy content from third parties and part of the new amount allocated should be devoted to it. Good news that would allow Salto to see a little bigger.
Another parameter to take into account: the production of original programs, as already do, among others, Netflix and Amazon Prime Video. If this is probably not a priority today, the question will inevitably arise one day or another. Without new content, difficult to be competitive in a SVOD market where competition is already very tough. In addition to this initial amount, Salto plans to invest another 250 million euros, generated by its future revenues. If the new actor of streaming achieves this, a significant portion of this sum should be dedicated to original creations.
While waiting to reach this point, the tripling of its endowment should allow it to be more credible in the race for market share. streaming by subscription. An area where the US giants are still difficult to dethrone.
Otherwise, to know everything about Salto, here is a summary of the answers to all the big questions that you ask yourself on the platform:
Salto, what is it?
An ambitious project that had a hard time getting out of the bud. Salto is an unprecedented collaboration between the three giants of French broadcasting: TF1, M6 and France Télévisions. Their idea? To offer French viewers a new platform of video on demand subscription, powered by their respective programs. Ambition? Become a credible alternative to Netflix and others, while curbing the massive growth of household giants.
Otherwise, Salto promises to be a service of streaming by subscription all that is classic, like Amazon Prime Video, Disney + or Apple TV +. The only real difference, on the French platform, you can watch the channels of the three groups live and access your favorite programs in replay. Today, the project is on the right track, even if its road has long been full of pitfalls.
Why was it so difficult to get started?
The idea of an alliance to compete with the leaders of video on demand is not new. In 2013, M6 boss Nicolas de Tavernost said he was in favor of a partnership with TF1. Six years later, his wish should finally finally be granted. If the negotiations were particularly long before reaching, the rest of the process was also laborious. The Autorité de la concurrence is watching over the grain to avoid any drift and the talks have been particularly laborious. Rather logical given the combined weight of the three groups in the French audiovisual and the consequences that such a partnership could have for other suppliers, if it is not sufficiently framed. .
To get permission to start, they had to make several concessions. First and not least, Salto will not be able to pick as many exclusives as it wishes in the catalogs of its parent companies. The Autorité de la concurrence has capped the hourly volume of exclusive series to 40% of the catalog proposed to future subscribers. The monopoly of the platform on said content will also be limited in time. Two obstacles that could affect its attractiveness.
The official launch date remains pretty blurry and the channels have not yet communicated on it. Salto is expected to arrive no later than the second half of 2020, even though the first half of that year was also mentioned. The deadline is getting closer and more details should probably arrive soon.
For what price?
There again, there is nothing publicly publicized. However, the monthly subscription should be between 2 and 8 euros, with several formulas. The difference between the packages could be played on criteria like the definition (standard, HD, ultra-HD) or the possibility or not to simultaneously connect to several on the same account. The premium offer could also include its share of new and exclusive and the difference could also be played on the content.
Who is in charge?
Having obtained the agreement of the competition authority, Salto logically set up its governance. It is Gilles Pélisson, CEO of TF1 who will chair its supervisory board, at least until 2021. Long anticipated, Delphine Ernotte, leader of France Televisions, has finally decided to let the hand. Thomas Folin has been appointed General Manager of the platform. The former head of digital distribution and innovation of the M6 Group's antennas took office in mid-September. He will have the difficult task of making Salto succeed in a market where competition is very tough.
Gilles Pélisson, boss of TF1 and boss of Salto.
What about content?
This is the big question. And as for the other big question marks, the three groups were pretty sparing with information. According to the communiqué that formalized its upcoming launch, Salto "Will allow to find all the best television programs of the three groups (live and catch-up), but also to discover new programs". We are well advanced. However, if we do not know exactly what will appear in the catalog, we have a clearer idea of what will not appear.
On the France Inter stage, Takis Candilis, the managing director of France Télévisions, confirmed that some of the group's flagship programs would not be available on Salto. On your mind, Cash Investigation, the magazine of investigation presented by Élise Lucet and one of the biggest audience successes of the public audio-visual one. "Today Cash Investigation is a brand of linear television, and we want it to be the best on linear TV ", he said in the show the Instant M August 26 last. Clearly, France TV does not plan to supply Salto with its best content, and certainly not directly after airing.
Takis Candilis at the microphone of Sonia Devillers on France Inter.
What to deduce from these statements? Salto should not offer a lot of "hot" content. To see high value-added emissions, it will be necessary to confine oneself to the services of replay free of the different channels. Initially, the platform should therefore be mostly supplied with the stocks of films and series that the three groups have in reserve. Eventually, perhaps it will produce its own original creations, like Netflix and the others. Still, we are not there yet, and the statements of Takis Candilis do not bode very good for Salto.
How to access it?
On computer, mobile, tablet and connected TV with an Internet connection. One can also reasonably expect an application on smartphone. The latest news, Salto will not be directly accessible via our internet box. It was Numerama who reported the information early last month. "Firstly, Salto will be accessible directly to consumers, without going through the box ", said Nicolas de Tavernost, the boss of M6.
A pretty amazing choice, there are box in the bulk of hexagonal households and the French platform could have benefited from this lever to settle there. But the channels have therefore preferred to be completely independent of Internet service providers. Audacious, especially that the competition it, does not hesitate to forge partnerships with these same operators.
What compete with Netflix?
That may not have escaped you, but the competition is booming on the SVOD market. Salto is far from the only service to make the leap in 2020. Apple TV +, Disney +, Peacock and HBO Max are also coming to tickle the leader Netflix. In addition to their iconic content (Friends, The Office, Star Wars, Marvel …), they will invest heavily and offer aggressive rates to conquer the maximum number of subscribers. Faced with the American arsenal, Salto seems quite helpless. The chains at the initiative of the project announced to invest at least 50 million euros in the platform. A sum that seems derisory next to the amounts put on the table by his rivals.
Ranking of VOD and SVOD platforms in France before the arrival of new suppliers on the market (source: CNC)
And what about Netflix? Last year, the industry ogre invested more than 8 billion euros for its original creations, and it already has more than 5 million subscribers in France … With its stock of series and dated films, Salto also appears to be lagging behind hits original and constantly renewed Netflix and company. Hard to put More beautiful life and Stranger Things at the same level … Certainly, the French service should be confined to France. It is therefore logical that he does not have the same gigantic means as the competition. Still, his stated ambition is to play in the same court. On paper, it seems in any case really complicated …