French Streamer Salto Likely to Shut Down as Shareholders Weigh In on Dissolution

Salto, the French streaming service launched two years ago by TF1, M6 and France Televisions, hasn’t attracted sufficient interest from potential bidders and is headed for a dissolution, Variety has confirmed.

Last November, two of its shareholders, TF1 and M6, which are France’s top two commercial channels, revealed their intention to sell their stakes in Salto. Shortly after, France Televisions president Delphine Ernotte said in an interview with Le Figaro that Salto needed new shareholders, suggesting that she, too, wanted the pubcaster to pull out.

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The streamer has been on the market since November. So far, only one serious offer has been submitted, from the Spanish company Agile Content, but talks have fallen off, according to the French blog L’Informé which first reported the news.

Under French law, shareholders – TF1, M6 and France Televisions — can’t exit Salto before they’ve sold their respective stakes, or else they must vote to dissolve the company, which is what is expected to happen on Friday.

Ernotte will likely propose a dissolution of Salto during a board meeting on Friday. If the measure is approved by all parties, the companies will have to sell Salto’s assets and settle outstanding liabilities before closing it officially. Valued at €45 million as of March 2022, Salto currently has a deficit of €85.6 million for an annual revenue of €17 million, according to the French report.

Spearheaded by Thomas Follin, the service features catch-up content from 19 different channels belonging to TF1, France Télévisions and M6, as well as premieres of upcoming shows, and fresh content available for streaming. Some of its high profile exclusive content in France has included the HBO Max shows “And Just Like That” and  “Friends: The Reunion.”

Launched in an effort to give subscribers a local alternative to Netflix, Salto reached between 800,000 and 900,000 subscribers by the end of last year, according to NPA Conseil. The service saw its subscribers base double between Spring 2021 and Fall 2022, but growth slowed down due to a lack of presence on set-top boxes. Indeed, Salto is only available as an OTT service and only boasts distribution deals with the French telco group Bouygues and most recently with Amazon Prime Video (since last Oct.). By comparison, Netflix, which boasts more than 12 million subscribers, has deals with all major telco groups, including market leaders Canal+, Orange, Free and SFR.

TF1 and M6’s decision to exit Salto appears to be motivated by several factors, including obligations that were imposed by the anti-trust board which they deemed too burdensome. France Televisions, on the other hand, is looking to tighten its purse strings.

Representatives for TF1, M6 and France Televisions did not rely to our requests for comment.

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