The programming menu at Discovery just got a lot more flavorful.The completion on Tuesday of Discovery's $14.6 billion acquisition of Scripps Networks Interactive creates the industry's largest group of lifestyle, factual, and unscripted entertainment cable channels as Scripps' Food Network, HGTV, Travel Channel, and others merge with the owner of Discovery, TLC, and Animal Planet.With Scripps in the fold, Discovery has formally changed its corporate moniker from Discovery Communications to Discovery Inc. Scripps CEO Ken Lowe has joined Discovery's board...
It’s not easy being a cable-channel powerhouse in the cord-cutting era, but Zaslav has kept Discovery viable with aggressive aplomb, including an $11.9 billion acquisition of rival Scripps.
Since taking the helm in 2007, Zaslav has pursued a strategy of international expansion through linear and digital acquisitions and channel launches. Discovery has made notable investments in the international sports market through its purchase of broadcaster Eurosport, which spent big to secure European TV rights to the Olympic Games through 2024.
In the U.S., Zaslav has been quick to remodel underperforming channels. He scored a coup in 2009 in partnering with Oprah Winfrey to launch the Oprah Winfrey Network on what had been the Discovery Health channel. After a rocky start, OWN has proven to be one of cable’s startup success stories in recent years.
Zaslav is deeply embedded in the world of Discovery’s single-largest shareholder, John Malone. He sits on the boards of Lionsgate Entertainment, in which Discovery and Malone’s Liberty Media are investors, and Sirius XM Satellite Radio, which is controlled by Liberty Media. Discovery and Malone’s Liberty Global jointly own the U.K. production group All3Media.
Under Zaslav’s direction, Discovery went public in 2008. Thanks to the growth of its stock price, Zaslav made headlines with a compensation package for 2015 that totaled $156.1 million, most of it coming from stock awards.
Zaslav came to Discovery after a nearly 20-year career at NBC, where he rose to president of NBCUniversal Cable. He was a key player in the launch of CNBC, MSNBC and other cable initiatives. Earlier in his career, he worked as a lawyer for the New York-based firm of LeBoeuf, Lamb, Leiby & MacRae. He also served as an adjunct professor at Fordham University, teaching a graduate-level course on the business of cable television.