As chief executive, David Zaslav sets the strategy and oversees all operations for Discovery Communications, the global leader in premium entertainment, with a portfolio of high-quality nonfiction, sports and kids programming brands across pay-TV, free-to-air and digital platforms in more than 220 countries and territories. Under his leadership, Discovery began trading as a public company on the Nasdaq stock exchange in 2008 and, in 2014, became a Fortune 500 company.
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 diversified content and IP.
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; Velocity, the #1 network for men in its distribution tier; and OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network, the #1 network for African-American women.
Under Zaslav’s leadership, the company’s global distribution platform has 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 nonfiction content offering with investments in sports across Europe and kids in Latin America. In 2015, Discovery announced full ownership of Eurosport, the leading provider of locally relevant, premium sports content across Europe. Together, Discovery and Eurosport have bolstered the sports offering across Eurosport’s three channels with more local, exclusive and premium content, including a groundbreaking agreement for all TV and multiplatform broadcast rights for the 2018–2024 Olympic Games across Europe. In addition to securing meaningful affiliate agreements, the deals have paved the way for double-digit subscriber growth on Eurosport Player, Eurosport’s direct-to-consumer platform.
Demonstrating Discovery’s expansion beyond traditional linear TV into short-form and mobile, Zaslav recently led Discovery’s investment in and strategic partnership with Group Nine Media, a new digital content holding company consisting of Thrillist, NowThis, The Dodo and Discovery’s digital network Seeker, creating a top 5 digital-first media company in the U.S. Zaslav also recently led the company’s joint venture partnership with MLB Advanced Media’s BAMTech to form BAMTech Europe, a European arm of the technology services and video streaming company that has taken on Eurosport’s digital business as its first client. In 2015, Zaslav led the launch of Discovery VR, which has since then garnered more than 115 million streams.
Zaslav strengthened Discovery’s international IP portfolio in 2014 with the acquisition of global content creator All3Media, and again in 2015 with the acquisition of a minority stake in Lionsgate.
In 2012, Zaslav received the UJA-Federation of New York’s Steven J. Ross Humanitarian Award and in 2014, was awarded the Fred Dressler Leadership Award by Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications. In 2016, Zaslav was honored with the Association of Frontotemporal Degeneration’s inaugural Susan and S.I. Newhouse Award of Hope. At Discovery, Zaslav spearheaded the launch and growth of Discovery Impact, the company’s corporate social responsibility programs.
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, Center for Communication, Skills for America’s Future, 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.