Posted on Nov 21, 2020 at 7:05 p.m.
Launched a month ago to the day, Salto, the new platform of France Télévisions, TF1 and M6 has entered into a first distribution agreement.
Thomas Follin, the director of Salto, has been claiming for several weeks that he has one or more agreements with telecom operators, without saying which ones … According to our information, this would be Bouygues Télécom … in the bosom of Bouygues, which is the parent company of TF1, one of the shareholders of Salto.
The issue of distribution is far from neutral. “The use of television is massive on the boxes [en France]. As long as Salto is not on the small screen via the operators, it will be difficult to exist ”, underlines a good connoisseur of the subject.
Neither Salto nor Bouygues wished to comment.
Not in a hurry
At the same time, this paid video on demand (SVOD) service which offers direct from twenty channels, replay and which also offers exclusives, is available on the Freebox Pop, as underlined in particular by “Satellifax”. However, this access to Salto passes through the application of the platform in the Android system of the box. Thus, according to our information, being present on it would not require having a contract with Free.
Salto would not have signed with Free, nor with Orange, or with SFR. As for Canal +, it does not seem, either, willing to sign with a competing service.
Telecom operators are obviously in no hurry to distribute the new platform focused on French fiction. “It is a hyper defensive service against world giants, which does not have much future ”, squeaks a leader in telecoms.
In the opinion of several operators, Salto would be too greedy in its requests. “Salto asked us to manage subscribers and a method of remuneration that did not suit us, almost taking themselves for Netflix !,” notes a good connoisseur. In general, in France, operators take 30% to distribute a channel. The negotiations, at the start, were far from this level ”.
A remuneration issue on the channels
In addition, these discussions come as the private television channels, shareholders of Salto, have obtained remuneration from telecom operators in recent years, at the cost of heated battles. However, the contracts concluded with the operators concerned both the remuneration of the free-to-air channels, but also the replay and associated services. “We are not going to pay twice for similar things”, sums up a professional. Especially since some of these contracts – like at least one of M6 – end at the end of the year. It is therefore a game of billiards with several boards …
However, discussions are continuing. And the arguments of the “telcos” are also negotiating positions. Their position will inevitably have to soften if Salto succeeds in establishing itself in the French landscape. When Netflix launched in 2014, Bouygues was the first to announce that it had signed with the American giant, followed by the others.
Salto would have 100,000 subscribers in three weeks, according to “Le Figaro”. But, they include free subscribers, since subscribers benefit from a month of free trial and even more for employees of parent companies. It will therefore be necessary to see how many remain by agreeing to pay 6.99 euros per month … This figure will undoubtedly depend a lot on the interest of distributors …