As President and CEO, David Zaslav sets the strategy and oversees all operations for Discovery Communications’ global suite of brands across pay-TV, free-to-air and 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 announced an agreement to acquire Scripps Networks Interactive, in a deal which is expected to close in early 2018. Together, the two companies will comprise a world-class portfolio of real life entertainment brands and become home to five of the top female networks, delivering over 20% share of women watching primetime in the U.S., nearly 20% of ad-supported pay-TV viewership in the U.S. and over 7 billion streams.
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; and OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network, the #1 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; Discovery K!ds Play; and in August 2017, the formation of a joint venture between Discovery and TEN: The Enthusiast Network. The venture will bring together Discovery’s Velocity network with TEN’s entire automotive digital, direct-to-consumer, social and live event portfolio and marks Discovery’s first direct-to-consumer OTT push in the U.S.
Zaslav has received multiple awards for his contributions to the media industry as well as his philanthropic work, including 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, the Association of Frontotemporal Degeneration’s inaugural Susan and S.I. Newhouse Award of Hope, and in 2017, was inducted into the prestigious Cable Hall of Fame.
At Discovery, Zaslav spearheaded the launch and growth of Discovery Impact, the company’s corporate social responsibility programs. In 2016, Zaslav led the launch 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, 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.