Salto takes on water, France Television says it is ready to leave the ship

After the takeover of M6 by TF1 and the start of the merger of the two groups, France Télévisions is seriously considering selling its shares in Salto in order to concentrate its efforts on France.tv. In any case, this was announced by the CEO of France Télévisions Delphine Ernotte during an interview.

In May 2021, TF1 made a sensational announcement: the first channel bought M6 for 641 million euros, Bouygues then becoming the majority shareholder of this new entity with 30% of the shares. Thanks to this merger, the operator and RTL Group (which owns 16% of M6’s shares) hope to be able to react and resist the rise of streaming platforms such as Netflix, Amazon Prime Video or even Disney +.

Nevertheless, this merger project is still in its infancy, and we will have to wait end of 2022 that the process be finalized. Several stages await first the two groups, starting with obtaining the agreement of the Authority of the competition of the Superior council of audio-visual, or the ARCOM one should rather say.

However, this alliance could have unexpected repercussions on a streaming platform which has just blown its first candle: Salto. While the Council of State has just validated the creation of the platform to the dismay of Free, which accused TF1, M6 and France Télévisions of commercial agreements, Delphine Ernotte has just made surprising remarks during an interview for Le Figaro.

France Télévisions wants to leave the reins of Salto

Indeed, the current president of France Télévisions (which is therefore one of the three founding groups of Salto) has announced seriously consider selling its shares to M6 and TF1 and by extension to leave the management board of the service. “In the context of the merger between TF1 and M6, this is an option in order to concentrate our efforts on france.tv, which must be the undisputed leader of free streaming in France ”, she explains in the daily columns.

A position all the more surprising when you know that the boss has always been one of the most fervent defenders of Salto, and this since the beginnings of the project. In 2017, she was already calling in the world for creation “of a French audiovisual team ”, always with the idea of ​​offering an alternative to the American streaming leaders, Netflix, Amazon and Disney + in the lead.

From now on, Delphine Ernotte wants to mobilize her forces to develop “a large digital platform for French public broadcasting ”, without M6 and TF1. And therefore without Salto. “All over Europe, the major media are choosing to concentrate their investments. I plead for the creation of a large portal common to all the public audiovisual sector, with Arte, INA, France Médias Monde and Radio France. We will need a common political vision to get there ”, she assures.

It remains to be seen what could be the effects of the departure of France Télévisions on Salto, which as a reminder already struggling to take off. Salto’s debut was timid, with just 200,000 subscribers in January 2021 and a deficit of 93 million euros. In summer 2021, however, the platform had doubled its number of subscribers to 400,000. Since then, the platform has not yet released new figures.

Source: Le Figaro

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