Does Salto deserve so much hate?

The French video streaming platform has not yet launched and is already the subject of much criticism. If doubts and criticisms can be healthy, a question still arises: why so much hatred?

« Netflix must be shaking », « All this to watch episodes of Joséphine the Guardian Angel and Plus Belle la Vie »… The dismissive comments on Salto are scattered and alike. But does the French video streaming platform, which will be officially launched in France on October 20, 2020, really deserve so much contempt? Can we really blame the French players for trying to formulate an alternative proposal, with French and European content?

Salto bears part of the responsibility for these mockeries, in particular because of a communication which has been, in the past, rather sloppy. We remember for example when the president of France Televisions had, in 2018, presented the service as a future ” European champion who weighs (rait) on the world stage “. Or since 2014, this desire of a TF1 manager to create a ” Hulu in French ».

Today, the teams have largely come back – it is rather the media that have continually presented Salto as the ” concurrent de Netflix ”, Even though the entities absolutely do not play in the same court. Thomas Follin, CEO of Salto, assumed this during an online press conference that Numerama attended on October 15: “ In the next ten years or so, Salto will not be a must in the world, but Salto will be a must for all French audiences. »

This humility is relevant: Netflix is ​​the leader (as of January 2020, one in 10 French people paid a subscription to the American platform), and we must succeed in positioning ourselves “alongside”.

Preview of the Salto interface

Why make fun of Plus Belle La Vie?

Obviously, Salto is far from benefiting from the same budget as the other major streaming offers on the market: we are talking about 135 and 250 million euros in total (roughly the cost of one to two seasons of Game of Thrones), which the three shareholders TF1, France Télévisions and M6 have committed to spend over three years. It’s a drop in the bucket compared to the others, but it still allowed the company to boast a decent catalog for its launch:

  • At least one series in preview (They were ten, before its broadcast on M6),
  • Cult French programs (A French Village, who was a time on Netflix France and which is currently only available in VOD, or the programs Munch or Alex Hugo);
  • American programs in H + 24 (Fargo, Bull, etc) ;
  • Recognized foreign series (Downton Abbey, Buffy the Vampire Slayers, the very good one Parks and Recreation, new in SVOD in France);
  • New series in France, but already distributed internationally (Double Vie, Evil, Selfish) ;
  • Preview episodes, like those from the reality TV show Love is in the meadow (whose episodes will be on Salto one week before their broadcast on M6) or those of More beautiful life, Such a great sun and The Mysteries of Love two days before.

To attack it on these programs is to give in slightly to ease, even a certain form of elitism. Yes, Salto will not be the platform that will exclusively produce the next Stranger Things, but what it offers also corresponds to what certain spectators are looking for. Series More beautiful life can sometimes be laughed at, but she is one of the greatest French successes of the genre, having managed for 15 years to produce numerous episodes in the era of time, hired a lot of talented French screenwriters, and produced program seasons at the chain in a quasi-industrial logic, which we generally envy the Americans.

In terms of new products, the Disney + catalog in France is not really much larger: each month there are a handful of new content, regularly old films or little-known cartoons. When it launched in April 2020, the platform had 150 series and 300 films to present, of which only 26 completely original and exclusive. In its favor, however, Disney + can count on a prestigious catalog of world-famous franchises, from Star Wars to Marvel to its cartoons.

A high price for an offer not yet detailed

Certain questions about Salto are, of course, audible. The prices announced by the French team, for example, seem high compared to other market players. At 6.99 euros for a one-screen subscription, the French SVOD service is barely 1 euro cheaper than the giant Netflix, which produces new original content every week. Likewise, the offer is at the same price as Disney +, which still offers 4 screens simultaneously and 7 profiles.

One could argue that Salto combines both SVOD and live channels, which would make it a complete offering. Unfortunately, this is also an argument that can backfire: Salto only broadcasts channels that are already free on the Internet. It is therefore hardly conceivable to use it as a marketing tool – especially since it is very likely that the stream which will be broadcast live will contain the same ad cuts as on the terrestrial channels. This therefore basically amounts to offering an offer which is free in a paid “package” – it is quite possible to look at TF1 live on the channel’s official website, for example.

Preview of the Salto interface

Another black point, the total absence of original creation on Salto, which should only be remedied by ” during the year 2021 », Specified the teams of the platform on October 15. It must be said that Salto was unlucky: firstly, the pandemic of coronavirus forced many filming to stop, slowing the production of French novelties. Second, it is inevitably difficult for the representatives of a platform that does not yet exist to negotiate the rights of an exclusive series with producers, who still have every reason to turn to conventional linear television channels. , or free web platforms that are successful, such as FranceTVSlash.

Admittedly, Salto’s promises can for the moment leave doubtful. It would be unfair, however, not to give him the merit of existing, finally, after years of battle and countless external constraints, and to try to offer a French offer complementary to what already exists on the market. Who knows, maybe the 18 million French women and men now forced into curfew will become passionate about programs they had never thought of taking a look at before.

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