Zaslav: TV Everywhere Could Help Boost Nets' Value

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TV Everywhere could be a vehicle for Discovery Communications to extract more value for its content as its carriage deals move toward renewal, CEO David Zaslav told an audience at an industry conference Thursday.
Speaking at the Nomura Media & Telecom Conference Thursday, Zaslav said that Discovery only has three carriage deals for all its networks with the exception of OWN: The Oprah Winfrey Network, coming up for renewal this year, with the rest coming due in a three-to-five year time frame. But he said that while there is still plenty of time for negotiation, Discovery has substantially increased in value over the past few years - it has doubled its original programming investment commitment, increased its market share and has three of the top 10 channels on cable.
"Those things didn't happen without a lot of effort and a lot of investment," Zaslav said. "We feel like we should get fair value, and we will work hard with distributors to do that. One of the things that could be helpful is TV Everywhere. We haven't given TV Everywhere rights to anyone."
Zaslav said that Discovery could cut a standalone deal for TVE or combine it with an early carriage renewal.
Later, Zaslav said that Discovery is not averse to over-the-top platforms, as long as they pay for content.
"Generically we're platform agnostic," Zaslav said. "We're platform agnostic in the U.S, we're platform agnostic around the world. Anyone who wants to pay for our content, we're going to listen to them."
Zaslav added that those platforms must be secure and have stable business models that don't destroy any existing models or agreements on other platforms. But he added that the more outlets for Discovery's content, the better.
"The more people that want to play, the more people that want to reach consumers ...it all adds up to a very robust marketplace for content." Zaslav said.
Zaslav continued to praise OWN, which he said experienced a 50% increase in daytime ratings in May.
"More people are spending time watching the network," Zaslav said. "It has meaningful momentum. But these things take time. We expect OWN to be profitbale in the second half of next year.
Asked if there was a lesson to be learned from its OWN experience, Zaslav said it was that new networks have to be "nurtured."
"Four years ago ID [Investigation Discovery] was nothing," Zaslav said. "Over four years it's a top 10 network. Science Channel has taken time and it's working, You've got to nurture these networks. I've always believed that Oprah has one of the best brands in media. We've got to continue to think about what the audience wants to see on OWN. If we do more of that, they'll spend more time with us and that is what has been happening."

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