French Streaming Service Salto Sets June 3 Test Launch

Salto, the streaming service jointly created by French public broadcaster France Télévisions and commercial networks TF1 and M6, will trial the new platform with a June 3 test launch.

The roll-out has been delayed for nearly a year for several reasons, including anti-trust and rights issues.

While Netflix is highly popular in France with almost 7 million subscribers, Salto will aim to differentiate itself with “an offer entirely developed for a French audience,” Thomas Follin, Salto’s managing director, recently told French newspaper Le Figaro.

Follin said the subscription rates will range between €5 to €10 ($5.50 to $11) per month. At launch, Salto will boast 15,000 hours of programming across all genres and expects to have 20,000 hours of programming by the end of the year. These will include original Salto titles that will be added to the service every month.

Instead of relying on algorithms, Salto will tap into an eclectic pool of programmers, film and TV personalities and influencers who will make their own recommendations, Follin told Le Figaro.

The French TV and film industry is currently at a crossroads with the looming broadcasting reform. One of the burning issues being discussed as part of the reform has to do with how many rights a French TV group or streaming service can claim on commissioned content, particularly for series or films it has fully financed.

Traditionally, rights ownership for broadcasters is limited to three years and doesn’t include the streaming window, which is why Netflix was able to stream the third season of “Call My Agent!” simultaneously with the show being aired on public broadcaster France 2 last year.

In order to ensure that Salto will have enough content to offer, France Télévisions signed a three-year agreement with France’s main producers guilds to secure streaming rights to the series, documentaries and animated programs it co-finances until 2022. Under the agreement, the broadcaster will own rights to programs for all windows, from free-to-air to SVOD.

France Télévisions previously stated that it would invest €50 million ($57 million) per year in content for its digital services, including Salto and an upcoming platform dedicated to kids’ programming.