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Salto chief unveils launch plan for streaming service

Salto, the long-delayed French streaming offering from broadcasters France Télévisions, TF1 and M6, is to launch on June 3, according to CEO Thomas Follin.

Follin told French newspaper Le Figaro that the SVOD offering would launch in test mode, enabling consumers to connect to the service. The streamer will then launch a full promotion in September.

Follin said that Salto would offer 15,000 hours of programming across all genres, rising to 20,000 hours by the end of the year.

Salto will be designed exclusively for the French public, with a price of between €5 and €10 per month.

The service will offer a mix of ad-free VOD and access to the participating broadcasters’ linear channels in streaming mode.

Follin said that Salto’s offering would complement rather than compete with the likes of Netflix and Amazon Prime Video, and that the aim was to create a service that would have a significant market share, even if it takes some time to get there. Follin also pointed out that only one in 10 French people currently subscriber to Netflix, with the implication that there is a significant market for a product focused on French content.

Thomas Follin

Follin, a member of the executive committee of RTL-owned M6, was appointed to head up Salto in September last year, with TF1 CEO Gilles Péllisson taking the role of chairman.

The launch of Salto has been long delayed. The service finally received a green light from the French competition watchdog in September last year on condition that the its JV commit to a series of remedies to prevent anticompetitive coordination in the rights acquisition market, the commercialisation of TV channels, the distribution of pay TV services and the advertising market.

The arrival of Salto on the desk of the Autorité de la Concurrence had earlier been delayed by the EC taking six months to decide it was not best-placed to rule on the competition impact of the service.

It remains to be seen how widely distributed the service will be. M6 CEO Nicolas de Tavernost said last year that the offering would not appear on the IPTV boxes that dominate TV distribution in the country, at least initially, but would be available as an OTT TV service.

However, French service providers including Altice Europe and Orange have subsequently indicated that they could be open to offering Salto via their boxes.