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Discovery CEO David Zaslav: Chip And Jo Gaines’ New Network

Discovery CEO David Zaslav tells Fox Business Network “We want to bring Chip and Jo [Gaines] to every device everywhere in the world”

David Zaslav chip and jo
Image source: FBN video Screenshot

In an interview on FOX Business Network’s (FBN) Mornings with Maria (6-9AM/ET), Discovery CEO David Zaslav told anchor Maria Bartiromo, “We want to bring Chip and Jo to every device everywhere in the world” while discussing the rebrand of the current DIY Network. **Below are highlights from the interview

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Discovery CEO David Zaslav on the upcoming Chip and Joanna Gaines network:

“It's about owning content that people want to see when they can see anything. And really this idea that what would people pay for to see before they would pay for dinner. And people love Chip and Joanna. They have a unique point of view. It's about home, it's about food, it's about faith, it's about design. They're really authentic personalities. So we're going to launch this network in the summer of '20, what's currently DIY. It will be a broadly distributed cable network, which they'll be the chief creative officers of. We're going to put a lot of resources behind that. But, you know, in the old days, that would have been it. Today we want to bring Chip and Jo to every device everywhere in the world. And that's kind of our strategy as a company that unlike most media companies, we own all of our content.”

On aligning with BBC:

“So we compete with National Geographic. It's a great brand. But it's a big deal for us to be aligning with the BBC over the next decade. We get their entire library. But also when we look at content now, we don't just look at content for channels. The way Bob Iger went ahead and a big piece of this deal was getting the Marvel library or to do the deal to buy the Star Wars library. For us, when we look at the BBC, natural history library, the greatest national history library in the world, in there is Planet Earth, Frozen Planet, Woolly Mammoth, Walking with Dinosaurs. For us, that's our Marvel library. We'll do spin-offs of that. And those are brands that everywhere in the world people know Planet Earth. And, you know, for us, natural history, that's our family entertainment.”

On outside media companies:

“The great differentiator is that we look over here and it's like a soccer ball on a soccer field. All these great media companies, they're all in the business of; they've moved the ball and the ball is scripted series and scripted movies. It's very crowded. It's make believe. It's script. It's actors and directors and they're telling stories and it's very, very expensive. But 50 percent of what people watch on TV is not scripted series and scripted movies. And so, for us, we have everything else in quality. And we think people are going to wake up, they care about food, they care about home and home design, they love Chip and Joanna, they want to be inspired by Oprah, they love golf on every Thursday through Sunday. So, for us, we think, you know, they may be right that there's going to be this $10 to $15 package of great scripted series and scripted movies, but we think we're right that these other niches that people love, you know, we own most of them.”

On collaborating with Tiger Woods:

“The great thing about golf, and we've been the leader in sports in Europe. We own Euro Sports. We have three sports channels in every country. We have the Olympics.  And we've been going direct to consumer in Europe and we've learned a lot. One of the things we learned is, you need a lot of great content. And golf, we have content Thursday through Sunday every week. So we're in partnership with the PGA tour everywhere in the world and we're in partnership with the European tour and we have Tiger. So when we go to China or to South Korea, we own all the golf. And, for us, our ambition is not just that people watch golf from Thursday through Sunday, but they get their golf instruction on our app. That they see that Rory or Tiger is wearing an outfit, they can hit a button and buy it. That they can -- they read about what's the best place to go on a golf vacation and they book it.”

On the scatter market and Discovery’s upcoming upfront:

“You know, surprisingly, it's pretty good. The scatter market is relatively strong. It even picked up a little bit in the last week or two. It's hard to project going forward, you know, where it's going to be, but with the upfront coming, it feels pretty good. The last couple of years the upfront has been up high single. We're hoping for that again. But the market feels pretty good. We're always worried about the digital market taking so much of the volume out of TV. But TV still seems to be the place that has the biggest impact with consumers. And it's a safe place. And we're like at the top of the pyramid on safety. That's part of our pitch is, we're the third largest TV company in America. We reach as much or more women as anybody. But we have safe brands that people love.”

On bundling:

“Outside the U.S., subs are increasing 2 percent. And so a piece of that is that it's a bundle that's been stuffed with sports and very expensive. And so this year, you know, us hoping for a long time this was going to happen, there's a lot of skinny bundles that don't have everything. So Hulu has a skinny bundle. YouTube has a skinny bundle. Sling has a skinny bundle. Fubu has a skinny bundle. And in most of those cases, and we're fighting to be on every one of those, we weren't on originally. And in the last year, they've come back to us… In the last year they've come back to us and said, the consumers are calling and they're wondering where your channels are. So it's going to end up being very good for us, I think, these skinny bundles.”

On European business:

“Europe's a challenge. We've been able to grow our European business. It was growing double digit for a long time. It's now growing, you know, very low single. But we're still growing. But it's a fight. In order for us to grow, we have to take market share from somewhere else because, as you say, for the last 15 years, Europe's been relatively effectively zero GDP growth, high youth unemployment. And so it is a bit of a powder keg. You see the explosion with Brexit. You see France is having its challenges. Germany, you have the immigration issue on top of that. Having said that, the TV market remains very stable. And so, you know, if in fact Europe can work through its issues, we're the leader in sports in Europe. We have one of the largest European media businesses.”

On the competitive change to reach consumers directly:

“It's a race to reach consumers directly. And everybody has lined up in this race, in the race for scripted and movies. And Rupert [Murdoch], I think, did something quite brilliant. He looked at his traditional business and he said, how do I compete with Netflix and Amazon. They're spending $8 billion, $10 billion, $12 billion a year. How do I compete with them? So he sold that business to Iger and Disney. They can compete.”