David Zaslav, President and CEO of Discovery Communications, and Jean-Briac Perrette, President and CEO of Discovery Networks International, have unveiled a new global leadership and operating model for the company’s Animal Planet brand.
Marking a first for a Discovery brand to be managed on a global basis, the model will align all of the company’s Animal Planet content under the leadership of Susanna Dinnage, appointed to the new role of Global President, Animal Planet effective immediately. In her new position, Dinnage will dual report to both Zaslav and Perrette to ensure global thinking, accountability and results, and will be based in London.
As part of the new structure, Dinnage, who currently serves as President of UK/Ireland and Chief Content Officer for Discovery Networks International, will manage a global team based in the US and UK and with contributors from other parts of Discovery’s worldwide business focused on delivering animal content that appeals to superfans around the world and on all screens.
Dinnage will further Discovery’s digital business by pursuing opportunities for market-specific direct-to-consumer products for animal lovers. She also will work to cement Discovery’s leadership in animals on short-form and mobile – both through Animal Planet’s owned-and-operated properties and the company’s investment in and partnership with Group Nine Media’s The Dodo.
“As Discovery continues to strategically pivot and deliver our content to consumers across all screens and services, it is more important than ever that our brands are structured and managed in a way that best exploits their global potential,” said Zaslav. “We are confident that this new global model, combined with Susanna’s expert leadership and the worldwide appeal of our animal content, will maximise Animal Planet’s power across linear channels and create new digital opportunities around the world.”
“Susanna’s creative prowess, commercial expertise and deep understanding of consumer viewing preferences across diverse markets has driven success for Discovery’s international business for many years. This new structure will expand Animal Planet’s strong heritage and affinity among passionate superfans across the globe,” said Perrette.
Dinnage has spent more than 20 years working in the television industry. Since joining Discovery in 2009, she has served in several leadership roles, including as General Manager of the UK and Benelux businesses, and most recently as President of UK/Ireland and Chief Content Officer for Discovery Networks International. Within the UK, Dinnage has built one of the strongest channel portfolio businesses in the Discovery global family, with brands spanning free-to-air, pay and direct-to-consumer products. Most recently, she built a partnership with Amazon, launching Discovery and Eurosport on Amazon Channels.
“I am incredibly excited to have the opportunity to lead such an inspiring and much-loved brand across the world. The animal kingdom and natural world give us all such joy and, in times of uncertainty, there is no better antidote than to spend more time immersed in the wonders of the world around us,” said Dinnage. “I look forward to bringing new talent and more adventure and reflecting the worldwide love of animals to every screen on Animal Planet. With a team based in London and New York, this is a great opportunity to work with a wide range of production companies across the world.”
Dinnage begins with a strong foundation upon which to build the new global Animal Planet brand, led most recently in the U.S. by Group President Rich Ross and GM Patrice Andrews. Andrews, whose leadership helped to spark new creativity and innovation during her time as GM at Animal Planet in the US, will be leaving the company.