Discovery CEO David Zaslav’s $14.6B Scripps deal paves way to globalize content

After closing a $14.6 billion acquisition of the Scripps Network Interactive, Discovery Communications  – which now controls programming powerhouses like “Shark Week” and “Chopped” under the same roof – is poised to become an entertainment juggernaut around the world.

Discovery, whose portfolio already included popular cable channels TLC, Animal Planet, and the car network Velocity, is available in 220 countries and territories, delivering more than 6,000 hours of original programming each year. It also co-owns Oprah Winfrey’s OWN in the U.S.

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“For us, we think that there’s a real chance for us to be a major player around the world in real-life entertainment, or nonfiction,” Discovery CEO David Zaslav told FOX Business’ Maria Bartiromo during an interview on Tuesday. “We kind of bring together most of the quality brands in America. But from our perspective, maybe more importantly, we own that content everywhere in the world.”

Now, the Maryland-based mass media conglomerate, which is officially known as Discovery, Inc., plans to focus on globalizing Scripps’ content, including HGTV, the Food Network, the Cooking Channel and the Travel Channel, he said.

“But maybe more importantly,” he said, “The big play for all of us in media is who’s going to get on the device and mobile screens? We think that instead of people watching ‘Homeland’ or ‘The Crown’ on their phone, they’re going to want to watch content that they love that’s also kind of functional.”

Discovery is uniquely prepared to make that jump, according to Zaslav, because of the type of non-fictional content the company is producing. The company now owns 18 channels, with about 20% viewership on TV.

The deal gives the media giant more firepower as it competes with streaming video content and guards against cord-cutting, which has caused pay-TV companies to lose subscribers. With a larger ownership of networks, Discovery can seek better contract terms with cable providers and streaming services like Netflix and Amazon.

“Content around food, around home, around science, inspirational content from Oprah,” he said. “We think that content can work really well on mobile screens, and that’s the real territorial grab.”

Discovery shares fell to $24.67 in recent trading.