Discovery ‘on a mission’ to push international content business

Discovery Communications CEO David Zaslav said that the company is ‘on a mission’ to drive international growth and predicted a tipping point whereby operating profit from Discovery Networks International (DNI) matches that from the US operations.

In its last reported results, international networks generated revenues of US$1.2 billion compared with the US$2.4 billion from the US channels. OIBDA profit was US$545 million and US$1.4 billion respectively.

International growth will come, in part, from producing and distributing content at a local level. “A lot of other networks companies have offerings that are much more American culture channels,” Zaslav said. “We started out as a US company, produced content and pushed it around the world, but we have found we can be more successful by doing local content as well. Instead of looking to the US for production, we have a big strategic advantage and opportunity to develop content around the world and bring it back to the US.”

 Discovery has inked a development deal whereby All3Media and Shine will develop programmes for its channels. “This kind of deal isn’t new, but it is new for us,” Luis Silberwasser, DNI chief content officer told TBIvision. He said that Discovery is committed to piloting projects from All3Media and Shine under the terms of the deal.

TBIvision understands the deal follows a high-level meeting in London between Discovery COO Peter Ligouri, who joined from Fox in 2009, and the bosses of the main UK production and distribution groups, including Shine and All3Media.