Advanced Television

Discovery’s Zaslav: “Eurosport fantastic asset”

February 14, 2014

Discovery Communications has revealed Full Year 2013 revenues of $5.535 billion, and increase of 23 per cent over the previous year.

David Zaslav, Discovery’s President and Chief Executive Officer, said the “strong” 2013 results reflected the additional market share the broadcaster was capturing around the globe as it further invested in its diverse content portfolio and capitalised on the growth opportunities available across the unmatched worldwide distribution platform it had developed. “At the same time, the strength of our balance sheet enabled us to make several strategic investments that complement our existing businesses and further bolster the long-term growth profile of the company, while also providing us with the ability to return significant capital to shareholders. As we move into 2014, we remain focused on maintaining the financial momentum we have generated consistently over the past several years while further investing in our brands and strategic growth initiatives so we can deliver additional shareholder value moving forward.”

In an Earnings Call, Zaslav described Eurosport, in which Discovery recently increased its shareholding to 51 per cent, as “a fantastic asset”, noting that it was in 55 countries between one and four channels, and had a lot of rights.

Moving forward, he said that Discovery would apply two levers to Eurosport. “One is, in every one of those countries, we have a local team that’s doing sales and that’s meeting with distributors to drive better distribution deals. So we can go very local. And if you remember, Eurosport only sells Pan-European right now. So what we did with our international business, when we took it from 120 million to over 1 billion, was we went local. So one, we think we have some real revenue opportunity by piggybacking on our existing infrastructure. And then, we will look opportunistically,” he advised.

As for the prospect of bidding for sports rights beyond those already held by the channel, Zaslav said the the question was: “’Is there opportunities to get longer-term growth by stepping up in certain markets for more sports?’ If we do, do it, there’s a good chance we’ll be doing it in a joint bidding with a distributor or a player in the market. We’ll be disciplined about it, but we’re going to look at all options because, as we look at our portfolio, across most of Western and Eastern Europe, we already have 10 channels.”

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