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France’s Salto shuts down

Salto, at one time touted as ‘the French Netflix’ has now ceased streaming operations. The service had already ceased to take new subscriptions from mid-February when the decision to close it down was taken.

Salto, which launched after multiple delays in 2020, had attracted an estimated 800,000 subscribers at the time of its closure. Originally championed by France Televisions director-general Delphine Ernotte, the fate of the service was ultimately sealed by the failure of joint-venture partners TF1 and M6 to see through their planned merger. A successful merger would have paved the way for Salto to continue operating under the merged entity.

Many observers believe that the regulatory constraints placed on Salto’s shareholders doomed the project from the start, with limits placed on the number of exclusive programmes that could be sold to it by its parent groups and a ban on promotion of the service on their linear channels.

The bulk of exclusive programming streamed on Salto was also aired subsequently on France’s free-to-air channels and catch-up services, while the streamer’s budget was too small to seriously compete with well-funded international rivals.

Salto also largely failed to secure distribution via France’s ISPs, vital to reach a large audience in the country.

With the closure of the service, existing subscribers will be recompensed for the remainder of the time for which they have paid.

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