France's Netflix Competitor Set for 2020 Launch

France Televisions CEO Delphine Ernotte Cunci

The public-private joint venture Salto received approval from government regulators to debut early next year.

France's public-private joint venture Netflix competitor Salto has finally received the stamp of approval from regulators and has set its launch for the first quarter of 2020.

The project, spearheaded by France Televisions head Delphine Ernotte Cunci with private broadcasters M6 and TF1, will launch as an SVOD billed as a French alternative to Netflix and other international streaming platforms that have shaken up the established order in France.

“Now that Salto has been approved, we will at last be able to put together Team France in broadcasting, which I have been longing for. The launch of the platform will very soon give us what we need to compete against international players on our own territory,” said Ernotte Cunci. “It will be a new way for the French and European creative industries to engage with their public.”

Gilles Pélisson, CEO of the TF1 group, added: “I am pleased that this project is being realized, embodying as it does a new ambition for the French broadcasting industry. The Competition Authority’s ruling is a very positive sign, because it shows that the authorities are aware of the need to support and accompany industry players in making the innovative changes needed to meet new challenges."

M6 Chair Nicolas de Tavernost said: “This ruling finally gives us the opportunity to work together to develop an offer and a platform that are in phase with changing usage. Our channels are popular with French people, our content is attractive and our technology is very advanced: all reasons to welcome the forthcoming launch of an ambitious joint offer like Salto.”

The trio of broadcasters had to give several concessions to win approval, including limiting its offer to a maximum of 40 percent of content acquired from its parent companies and certain restrictions on packaging linear and nonlinear rights in acquisition deals.

Ernotte Cunci has been vocal in the need for a homegrown Netflix competitor, which was initially announced in June of 2018. Earlier this year, she also made an agreement with local producers that new French series backed by local funding would not be sold to competing SVODs.

The new project will have a budget of about $56 million in its first year.