Salto, the French Netflix, plays its future

Two little turns and then go away? Two years after its appearance, somersault lives crucial hours. The fate of the paid video-on-demand platform common to France Télévisions, TF1 and M6 could indeed be sealed before the end of the month. Its shareholders must meet in the coming days to make a decision: put back to the pot, or stop the costs.

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Officially, “no decision has been made” at TF1, after the Letter A said ten days ago that its new managing director, Rodolphe Belmer, wanted to get out. “We don’t have a pre-established strategy”, we claim cautiously at M6. As for France Télévisions, skepticism dominates.

Hearing in the Cultural Affairs Committee on October 26 at the National Assembly, Delphine Ernotte explained to the deputies that she was looking for 45 million euros to complete the 2023 budget of the group she leads. By accounting chance, this is exactly the sum she was supposed to get from her partners in exchange for France Télévisions’ share in Salto when, anticipating the merger of TF1 and M6, she announced a year ago. , that she would withdraw. This desire for emancipation probably did not disappear with the failure of the marriage between the two private groups, but the conditions for its realization are radically different.

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Relatively cheap prices

“There are three possibilitiesexplains an actor of the file. Either none of the three shareholders hands over any money, and you have to liquidate. Either they agree to strengthen the platform – but this is not the most likely scenario. Either one of the partners or an outside actor, such as a producer, buys out the shares of the others. But then, he will have to have strong backs. »

At this stage, Salto is not completely lacking in attractions, but it is not a bargain either. With its offer of popular programs and its relatively cheap prices (from 6.99 to 12.99 euros), the platform could reach one million subscribers by the end of the year, according to certain sources. Far from the 10 million French subscribers to Netflix for example, but the figure is not so dishonorable for a recent service. “It’s almost miraculousone of the groups concerned insists, when we know that internet service providers have been anti-gambling by refusing to distribute Salto” (SFR, Free, Orange, but not Bouygues, which has been distributing it since the beginning, nor Amazon, which has been doing so since June). Its users are rather loyal to it: when they come to the platform, approximately every two days, they stay there between 2:10 a.m. and 2:30 a.m. “60% of Salto subscribers are under 35, while only 10% of viewers are under 35, which proves the complementarity between this offer and traditional television”highlights Thomas Follin, its managing director.

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