The French Competition Authority has given the regulatory green-light to three TV broadcasters looking to jointly enter the increasingly crowded streaming landscape.
Competitors TF1, M6 and France Télévisions announced Monday they together will launch subscription servce Salto in the first quarter of 2020.
Across the English Channel, TV rivals ITV and BBC have banded together to prop up BritBox. While executives from both UK companies have said they're not in the business of competiting with other streaming services, the pact among French broadcasters is certainly an attempt at fighting off competitors.
"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," said Delphine Ernotte Cunci, chief executive officer of France Télévisions. The launch of the platform will very soon give us what we need to compete against international players on our own territory. And it will be a new way for the French and European creative industries to engage with their public.”
The companies said they plan to combine their resources to respond to consumers' changing TV expectations and strengthen their "active participation" in French and European markets.
Consumer expectations are changing as streaming services growth their international presence. Netflix had 37 million European-based subscribers in 2018, and that number is projected to jump to 57 million in 2023, accroding to Statista.
“I am pleased that this project is becoming a reality, embodying as it does a new ambition for the French broadcasting industry," said Gilles Pélisson, chief executive of TF1. "The Antitrust Authority’s ruling is a very positive sign, as it demonstrates that the authorities awareness for the need to support and accompany industry players in making the necessary innovative changes in order to face new challenges.”
M6 chairman of the executive board Nicolas de Tavernost added: “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.”