Earlier today, David Leavy, Chief Communications Officer for Discovery Communications, made the following statement regarding Comcast’s claim in its merger proceeding with the Federal Communications Commission:
As one of the few remaining independent programmers in the country, Discovery has a nearly 30-year history of being one of the most fair, rational and reasonable actors within the industry. Our long-term commitment to investing in education content that benefits all consumers has been rewarded with nearly 11% of the viewership of ad-supported cable in 2014. We are always talking to our distribution partners about realizing fair value for our content across all consumer platforms, and it is very unfortunate that Comcast is trying to divert attention away from the real issue. Comcast chooses to not talk about the substantial program discounts they currently get, or what they would do post-merger to demand extreme discounts from cable programmers or block the launch of new networks and brands. Discovery has 13 networks in the U.S. that strive to serve all ethnic and demographic groups with high quality, family friendly programming. We stand by our concerns that Comcast could use its enhanced leverage from the proposed merger to impose onerous terms that jeopardize the ability of independent programmers like Discovery to continue investing in a diverse portfolio of content and brands. Comcast’s silence on the details of key issues like program discounts, and instead, its continued strategy of intimidating voices that are not fully supportive of its position, is troubling.
Chief Communications Officer