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. More recently under Zaslav, Discovery acquired Scripps Networks Interactive, in a transaction which closed in 2018. The new Discovery comprises nearly 20% of ad-supported pay-TV viewership in the U.S. and nearly 7 billion monthly video views, making it #1 pay-TV portfolio in the U.S.
Its assets now form a collection of world-class brands and global IP that create the foundation for one of the company’s most-ambitious initiatives ever, discovery+. The definitive real-life subscription streaming service launched in the U.S. in January 2021 with more than 55,000 episodes, and internationally, continues its rollout to more than 25 markets.
Zaslav has led Discovery since 2007, executing a number of initiatives that have focused the organization on growth, operational efficiency and its pivot to direct-to-consumer. He also 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, a leading network for women in total day delivery; and OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network, a top network for African American women. Under his leadership, Discovery networks have hit numerous milestones, with TLC breaking all cable viewing trends and recording its most-watched year ever in primetime for 2020. Brands including HGTV, Food Network, TLC and ID regularly rank among the most-popular networks for their core demo of female viewers.
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 Discovery Kids in Latin America, 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 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 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 Mount 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.