As President and CEO, David Zaslav sets the strategy and oversees all operations for Discovery’s global suite of brands across pay-TV, free-to-air, direct-to-consumer and other digital platforms. Under his leadership, Discovery began trading as a public company in 2008 and became a Fortune 500 company in 2014. Most recently under Zaslav, Discovery acquired Scripps Networks Interactive, in a transaction which closed in March 2018. Together, the combined companies form a collection of world-class brands dedicated to powering people’s passions. Discovery now comprises nearly 20% of ad-supported pay-TV viewership in the U.S. and nearly 7 billion monthly video views, making it the second largest TV company in the U.S. in terms of reach.
Zaslav has led Discovery since 2007, executing a number of initiatives that have focused the organization on growth, performance and operational efficiency. He also has directed a strategic effort to clarify and strengthen Discovery’s world-class brands with a renewed focus on superfan content categories and IP ownership.
Since Zaslav took the helm, Discovery has launched some of the fastest-growing cable networks in the U.S., including Investigation Discovery, the #1 network for women in total day delivery; and OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network, a top network for African American women.
The company’s global distribution platform has, under Zaslav’s leadership, expanded to 3 billion cumulative worldwide viewers with a diverse set of brands, creating an unmatched international portfolio for viewers, advertisers and distributors. Zaslav has diversified Discovery’s content offering with investments such as kids in Latin America, which have led to Discovery Kids becoming the leading preschool network across the region. Discovery has further strengthened its presence in key international markets through numerous transactions including the acquisition of Eurosport, which led to the groundbreaking agreement with the International Olympic Committee making Discovery and Eurosport the home of the Olympic Games across Europe through 2024.
Zaslav has expanded Discovery’s audiences across all screens with digital content holding company Group Nine Media; OTT offering Eurosport Player; the GO portfolio of TVE apps; and a controlling stake in Play Sports Group, creating the #1 cycling media ecosystem in the world. In August 2017, Zaslav led a joint venture to create MotorTrend Group, bringing together Discovery’s Velocity network with MotorTrend’s entire automotive digital, direct-to-consumer, social and live event portfolio and marking Discovery’s first direct-to-consumer OTT push in the U.S. As part of the effort, Velocity, America’s #1 television destination for automotive fans, was rebranded MotorTrend Network in Fall 2018.
Under Zaslav, Discovery in June 2018 also formed a strategic alliance with PGA TOUR to create the international home of golf. The unprecedented 12-year relationship includes global multiplatform live rights outside the United States to all PGA TOUR media properties totaling approximately 2,000 hours of content per year. The alliance includes the creation of a dedicated, PGA TOUR-branded OTT video streaming service dubbed GOLFTV, which launched in January 2019, capitalizing on Discovery’s direct-to-consumer product and platform expertise as home to the Eurosport Player. A highlight of GOLFTV is a global partnership with PGA TOUR winner and Major champion Tiger Woods, an exclusive multi-year agreement shepherded by Zaslav to provide unparalleled programming around golf’s ultimate competitor.
Zaslav has received multiple awards for his contributions to the media industry as well as his philanthropic work, including the Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Ripple of Hope Award, the UJA-Federation of New York’s Steven J. Ross Humanitarian Award, Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications Fred Dressler Leadership Award, and the Association of Frontotemporal Degeneration’s inaugural Susan and S.I. Newhouse Award of Hope. He was inducted into the prestigious Cable Hall of Fame in 2017 and into the Cable TV Pioneers Class of 2018.
At Discovery, Zaslav spearheaded the launch and growth of Discovery Impact, the company’s corporate social responsibility program. In 2016, Zaslav led the creation of the company’s latest global conservation initiative, Project C.A.T.: Conserving Acres for Tigers, to help double the global wild tiger population by 2022.
Prior to joining Discovery, Zaslav had a distinguished career at NBCUniversal, where he was instrumental in developing and launching CNBC and also played a role in the creation of MSNBC. He was previously an attorney with the New York firm of LeBoeuf, Lamb, Leiby & MacRae and graduated with honors from Boston University School of Law.
Zaslav serves on the boards of Sirius XM Radio, Inc., Lionsgate Entertainment, the National Cable & Telecommunications Association, The Cable Center, Grupo Televisa, Partnership for New York City and USC Shoah Foundation. He also is a member of the Board of Trustees for the Paley Center for Media, the Mt. Sinai Medical Center and previously served as an adjunct professor at Fordham University, where he created and taught a graduate-level course on the business of cable television.