Shareholders gear up for meeting to discuss next steps for French SVOD Salto

The next few weeks should provide some guidance on the future for French SVOD platform Salto, with reports that shareholders, TF1, M6 and France Televisions are set to discuss their respective positions at a watershed meeting this month.

Although a date has yet to be set, the meeting will need to address the best path ahead for Salto after the collapse of TF1’s proposed merger with M6. When that deal was first announced, France Televisions said it would sell its stake in Salto to the newly merged TF1/M6 company for €45m – with this money channelled into Salto’s budget for 2023. At this moment, however, all three shareholders are still involved in Salto – though their current level of commitment to the streamer going forward is not known.

Since it launched in 2020, Salto has secured a subscriber base of around 700-800,000. Last week, it simplified its pricing structure, so that it now offers one tier at €7.99. Its key proposition is that it offers a more local proposition than its rivals – though global rival Netflix is reckoned to have invested around €200m in French content this year. Netflix has proved popular with French content creators because it provides them with a global stage for their shows – with series like Lupin having done especially well. French consumers are also avid viewers of international content, helping drive Netflix to around 10 million subscribers by July 2022.

When shareholders meet, one obvious question is whether TF1 and M6 will still want to acquire France Televisions’ stake now that they are not merging. This is not certain. TF1, for example, has its own streaming platform MYTF1, and may be inclined to invest more heavily in that service rather than sink its resources into a platform it doesn’t own.  Newly-appointed CEO Rodolphe Belmer, formerly of Canal+, has not publicly commented on Salto, but he is believed to be undecided about the platform’s future. RTL-owned M6 may be thinking along similar lines. It has just launched a premium ad-free version of its streaming platform 6Play, called 6Play max.

The current economic climate is also likely to play a part in any decisions about Salto. With streaming platforms engaged in massive cost-cutting exercises, it would be surprising if Salto’s shareholders committed many resources in the short term.

Read Next