Why French TV could be set to get better

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Although it’s unfair to generalise, many foreigners find watching French terrestrial TV fairly unsatisfying, with a high number of panel shows, variety shows and dubbed American TV series on offer.

Which why the arrival of Netflix in France – with its smart, witty and original French shows – was greeted with some enthusiasm by viewers.

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France Télévisions boss Delphine Ernotte is spearheading the project. Photo: AFP

But the US-based company is about to get a little competition, with the approval of French streaming service Salto, which is also looking to create original content.

Salto is a public-private partnership run by France Télévisions, TF1 and M6 and it was on Monday granted approval by the competition authority.

It is now expected to launch early next year, offering a combination of exclusive content and documentaries and series from French terrestrial channels as an on-demand service. An early estimate on subscription costs was €2 to €8 a month.

The service will join Canal+ and Amazon Prime in the French market, as well as Netflix, which launched in France last year and is opening a Paris office in the autumn.

France is now the fastest growing market for Netflix, currently with more than 5 million subscribers locally.

Netflix France’s original content has also proved a hit with viewers in France, with series like Marseilles, Plan Coeur and Family Business pulling in big viewing figures.

The company’s fast turn-around times for series and tight production schedules, along with the use of a diverse pool of talent, have been credited with bringing a new creative energy to French TV shows.

Speaking after the green light was given for Salto, France Télévisions boss Delphine Ernotte said in a joint statement: “We can finally set up this French audiovisual team that I was hoping for.

“The launch of the platform will very soon give us the means to play on our territory, facing international players.”

TF1’s CEO, Gilles Pélisson, added that he considered that this decision showed “the authorities’ awareness of the need to support and accompany the sector’s players in the innovative developments needed to face the new challenges”.

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