French broadcasters TF1, M6, and France Télévisions have confirmed that they are shutting down Salto, their joint subscription streaming product launched in 2020. The writing had already appeared to be on the wall after France TV announced its intentions to withdraw from the project back in January, but there had still been a possibility that a buyer could emerge to take its place. Now however, the three stakeholders have confirmed that the business will enter voluntary liquidation.
In a joint statement announcing the decision, the three broadcasters shared more explicit details on the service’s struggles.
Primarily, Salto just didn’t pick up enough subscribers. Salto’s owners had hoped that by combining their content offerings and focusing on French content, they could provide a strong alternative to the international streaming giants for the French market. But there was always speculation that uptake was low, given that the company rarely released any firm figures. In the statement, the three companies say Salto has still not reached one million subscribers, placing it far behind Netflix which passed the 10 million mark last summer.
However, Salto’s owners said that struggles with distribution were a major contributor to these struggles. The statement pointed to “the refusal of most internet service providers to distribute the platform, as is the case with the American platforms” as part of Salto’s downfall. It also referenced “complex and constraining governance arrangements,” suggesting that the three broadcasters had found it difficult co-running the platform.
Marc Sénéchal of the firm BTSG has been appointed to handle the liquidation process, and is expected to lay out a timeline for shutting down the service soon. TF1, M6 and France Télévisions say they will make their “best efforts” to find alternative roles for Salto employees.