The French online video service Salto will cease operations and enter voluntary liquidation. The future of the platform has been in doubt for months, following the abandonment of the proposed merger between two of the three founder shareholders. Amazon and Canal+ were considered among potential purchasers of the platform. None of the expressions of interest in taking over the platform resulted in a resolution.
Launched on 20 October 2020, Salto was a joint venture between France Télévisions, M6, and TF1. It offered a range of titles in French, including drama, daily shows and exclusive programmes.
Salto, the name of backward somersault, is a reference to start-over or catchup services. The joint platform was proposed as a way of competing with international players.
First proposed in mid-2108, the launch was delayed by regulatory approval and then the onset of the coronavirus pandemic.
A subsequently proposed merger between M6 and TF1 was dropped due to regulatory requirements. That would have enabled Salto to be taken over by the merged entity.
The owners of Salto determined that it is not possible to continue with the current ownership structure, citing complex and constraining governance arrangements. They also noted the refusal of most internet service providers to distribute the platform, in contrast to American services.
The shareholders said in a joint announcement that none of the expressions of interest in taking over Salto received from a number of industry players could be brought to a satisfactory conclusion.
The shareholders have committed to making their best efforts to offer alternative posts for Salto employees.
The statement paid tribute to the team of talented people at Salto, under the leadership of Thomas Follin, and expressed “disappointment at this unfortunate outcome for the French broadcasting industry”.
After two years in business, Salto achieved fewer than a million subscribers. In contrast, Netflix has over 10 million subscribers in France.
Existing Salto subscriptions will be automatically ended on 27 March. Usage data will be held for a further month, while accounting data will be held for 10 years from the first invoice, stored in an encrypted archive held by the liquidator.
A message on the Salto web site thanked subscribers for sharing their desire and enthusiasm for a made in France online video platform.