Increased responsibilities for exceptional Discovery leaders Dee Forbes, Kasia Kieli and Marinella Soldi
(London, UK) – Discovery Networks International today announced a realignment of its European operations into three business clusters to unlock new growth opportunities, maximize operational effectiveness and increase revenue across the continent and beyond.
JB Perrette, President, Discovery Networks International, commented: “Discovery Communications has achieved tremendous success outside the U.S. by driving organic growth and complementing it with targeted acquisitions, most recently Eurosport International. Our European business has expanded significantly over the past four years and the time is right to realign regional operations to build upon our significant strategic advantage and unlock further growth.”
Discovery Networks Northern Europe
Dee Forbes, who has transformed Discovery’s business across mature markets in Western Europe by creating an innovative and high performing hybrid portfolio of free-to-air and pay-TV brands, will lead operations in the UK & Ireland, Nordics and Benelux, as President and Managing Director of Discovery Networks Northern Europe. Forbes will utilize her experience in the Nordics and close involvement in the SBS acquisition, which was the largest transaction in company history and increased its footprint from eight to 20 TV networks in the region with a top three market share ranking. Now that the first phase of integration is over, the time is right to further combine these networks with Discovery’s core business and Henrik Ravn, who has successfully managed Discovery’s operations in the Nordics since the acquisition of SBS in 2012, will step-down at the end of the year.
Discovery Networks Central & Eastern Europe, Middle East and Africa (CEEMEA)
Kasia Kieli will add Germany, Austria and Switzerland to her portfolio as President and Managing Director of Discovery Networks Central & Eastern Europe, Middle East and Africa (CEEMEA). Germany was the first Discovery market to launch a free-to-air channel business with the introduction of DMAX in 2006 and in April 2014, the launch of TLC further expanded its free-to-air portfolio with considerable success. Eurosport also operates in Germany, Austria and Switzerland as a free-to-air channel. Adding these markets to the portfolio and further establishing Munich as an important regional hub for the CEEMEA business will bring additional expertise of running free-to-air networks in markets with significant scale and opportunity to the region.
Discovery Networks Southern Europe
Marinella Soldi becomes President and Managing Director of Discovery Networks Southern Europe by adding France to her current oversight of Italy, Spain and Portugal. Under Soldi’s stewardship, Discovery has become the third biggest broadcaster in Italy and she successfully launched Discovery Max in Spain during the height of that country’s recession, a channel that has gained 3.3% market share amongst A25-44 in less than two years. In France, Discovery’s portfolio historically has been relatively small but following the acquisition of the majority control of Eurosport International which has its headquarters in Paris, France has become even more strategically important.
Discovery Communications’ international revenues now exceed those in the U.S., and the division has just delivered a 3rd straight record quarter in viewership. Reaching an impressive 643 million viewers outside the U.S. (+6% YOY) during 3Q14, the world’s number one pay-TV programmer continues to enjoy exponential growth – charting its highest-ever average audience (+8% YOY) and delivering new highs among digital audiences for its non-U.S. websites (+11% YOY) and Facebook fans (+217% YOY).
Perrette continued: “Dee Forbes, Kasia Kieli and Marinella Soldi are exceptional leaders with demonstrated track records of building value for our company and these changes will enable them to better capitalize on the benefits of having a mix of free-to-air and pay-TV businesses across Europe. I am grateful to Henrik for shepherding recent successes with the invaluable support of his talented management team and wish him every success in his future endeavors.”
Discovery Networks International is thus comprised of five major regional operational centers: Northern Europe, Southern Europe, Central & Eastern Europe, Middle East and Africa (CEEMEA), Latin America/U.S. Hispanic, and Asia-Pacific.
About Discovery Communications
Discovery Communications (Nasdaq: DISCA, DISCB, DISCK) is the world’s #1 pay-TV programmer reaching nearly 3 billion cumulative subscribers in more than 220 countries and territories. Discovery is dedicated to satisfying curiosity, engaging and entertaining viewers with high-quality content on worldwide television networks, led by Discovery Channel, TLC, Animal Planet, Investigation Discovery and Science, as well as U.S. joint venture network OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network. Discovery also controls Eurosport International, a premier sports entertainment group, including six pay-TV network brands across Europe and Asia. Discovery also is a leading provider of educational products and services to schools, including an award-winning series of K-12 digital textbooks, through Discovery Education, and a digital leader with a diversified online portfolio, including Discovery Digital Networks. For more information, please visit www.discoverycommunications.com.