French TV join forces in OTT strategy
June 15, 2018
By Chris Forrester and Colin Mann
Public-owned France Télévisions and the nation’s two major commercial broadcasters, TF1 and M6 are creating an OTT platform, named SALTO.
In a joint announcement, the partners say the alliance between France’s top three broadcasters reflects their ongoing commitment to keep pace with changes in French viewing habits.
Through SALTO, France Télévisions, M6 and TF1 groups intend to provide an ambitious response to what the viewing public now expects, delivering a high-quality, innovative and easy-to-use service. The platform will offer an unparalleled choice of programmes: information (News bulletins, magazines, special events), sports, entertainment, French fictions, US series, documentaries and cinema.
SALTO will also play an active role in showcasing content from the French and European creative industries.
This new platform will not only carry a wide variety of the best TV programmes (live and catch-up), but will also offer exclusive content. Users will enjoy maximum flexibility with no commitment. The platform intends from the outset to welcome shows from other broadcasters.
SALTO will offer a range of subscription packages to meet the varying needs of its users. SALTO will give access to exclusive premières and add-on services, and will fit seamlessly alongside of the existing free platforms MYTF1, 6Play and France.tv.
A stand-alone company, owned in equal shares by the three Groups, will be set up to operate the platform, once clearance has been obtained from the competent authorities.
Delphine Ernotte Cunci (France Télévisions CEO), Gilles Pélisson(TF1 group CEO) and Nicolas de Tavernost (M6 group CEO) expressed their great satisfaction as such an ambitious digital step change for French broadcasting is becoming a reality.
“I am delighted by the launch of this joint platform, which is a major development for the future of the French broadcasting industry, declared Ernotte Cunci. “SALTO will be able to respond to the challenge of global platforms by offering a high-quality service to all our audiences and showcasing the best of the French and European creative industries.”
“For the TF1 Group, this project is in line with our stated commitment to openness and strategic co-operation with key industry players, both in France and in Europe,” added Pélisson. “In the years ahead, it will give us the weapons we need to meet the challenges we face while meeting viewer expectations ever more effectively.”
“As a group that has been profoundly committed to adapting to changes in digital technologies and viewing habits for many years, M6 is delighted that the top three French television groups are joining forces to reflect and even accelerate changes in the TV industry, so that they can deliver what their audiences want,” remarked de Tavernost.
Two price levels are being talked about, at €1.99 and €6.99 although it is not yet clear as to what will be available under the two prices.
Investment bank Exane/BNPP looks upon the news as positive, saying: “At last, French TV players are putting their differences aside as they realise they consumer habits changes create a risk of incumbent players becoming fast marginalised in an online TV world. That said, we believe the very reason for Netflix or Amazon success is (among other things) the ability to move quickly with a consistent approach globally and enormous financial and technological clout. It is not clear whether a local 3-side JV platform sitting next to T1/M6/FTV’s own digital platform (which are in turn sitting next to the traditional channels) can be a significant competitor to global platforms.”
The bank also asks: “What level of tech investment will Salto receive? Will it become a strong brand (stronger than the TV’s own platforms)? Will the platform be the first window for new premium content or a mere repository of existing content already available elsewhere?”