As reports emerge that Google is signing up programmers for its upcoming live TV service, Discovery CEO David Zaslav is pushing to see his channels show up in Google’s service and everywhere else.
In an interview with CNBC, Zaslav said it’s Discovery’s “overall mission to own great IP, build great channels and put it on every platform.”
“One piece of that is to be on every skinny bundle,” said Zaslav. “The other piece is to take our content directly to consumers.”
In the U.S., Discovery is doing that with its authenticated Discovery GO TV Everywhere app. And Zaslav also described his company’s work with Eurosport – a network Discovery fully acquired in 2015 for $534 million -- in Europe, where Discovery is trying to create a “sports Netflix” by offering live sports content directly to European consumers for $8 per month.
Meanwhile in the U.S., Discovery last week announced that it’s investing $100 million in Group Nine Media, a new company will house lifestyle platform Thrillist; NowThis, a platform for creating videos for social media distribution; animal-focused website The Dodo; and adventure-focused video platform Seeker.
Speaking with Bloomberg outside of the Vanity Fair conference in San Francisco, Zaslav said the new combination will garner about 4 billion streams per month. Ben Lerer of Thrillist will be the CEO of Group Nine and Discovery owns 30 percent of the company, though it retains the right to buy the whole thing in two years.
But when Bloomberg asked if this latest IP-based initiative was a means for Discovery to hedge its bets against a turbulent linear TV ecosystem, Zaslav balked.
“I wouldn’t say it’s a hedge,” said Zaslav. “We need IP on every platform. There are seven billion screens. The old world was you had to be on TV…When it comes to people consuming brands on television, our business is growing and it’s quite strong.”