Discovery Communications sees Western Europe as “the new emerging market”, and will sustain its recent spate of acquisitions.
“For us this is a good time to lean in to Western Europe,” David Zaslav, chief executive, declared during the ‘upfronts’ – showing new programmes to advertisers. Discovery bought Norway’s SBS for $1.7 billion last December, and in France it paid $221 million for a 20 per cent stake in TF1’s Eurosport. Zaslav said “when western Europe turns, if we have more channels that people are spending more time with . . . you’ll be able to maximise that.”
Mark Hollinger, chief executive of Discovery Networks International, said Discovery had been presented with opportunities because some European competitors were “holding back”. Some free to air broadcasters, in particular, were “struggling” in a weaker advertising market.
His comments came as Discovery announced plans to launch TLC, its female-focused channel, in the UK through deals with Sky, Virgin Media and BT.