Discovery CEO David Zaslav talks “shock & awe global strategy” with WarnerMedia

David Zaslav

Discovery CEO David Zaslav has predicted that a combined streamer with WarnerMedia will be able to attract 200 million global subscribers within three years and said a “shock and awe global strategy” for the service is in the works.

Zaslav told the Communacopia Conference in LA that the merger between the two US giants, first announced in May, is on track to close in 2022 and added that the streamer would be rolled out “quickly, once we close.”

He said experience gained from the launch of Discovery+ would assist a fast roll-out and added that the offering would be “unmatched with appeal to almost every demo,” but firm details were kept under wraps.

“We’ve been working on this for over four months now and we’ve now finalised our go-to-market strategy, and it feels really compelling,” he said. “What differentiates this company and gives it so much diversified strength is… that we’re able to grow this product globally to 200 million subscribers or three years from now.”

The move will position the snappily named Warner Bros. Discovery as the third global streamer, alongside Netflix and Disney+, Zaslav said.

The Discovery CEO also did not rule out further acquisitions, adding: “There will be a lot of consolidation and some of that may be opportunities for us, but right now, I really like where we are.”

Depth & explosive content

The merger will create a company that will own one of the most extensive libraries in the world with nearly 200,000 hours of programming and Zaslav said the success of the merger depended on a “strong Warner Bros.”.

“We don’t want to be confusing and we also want to put ourselves in a position for a shock and awe global strategy, when you look at the menu – the diversity, the power of the content that we have in one place when this company comes together.”

He added that Warner had “some of the most explosive content in the world” and said he had already met numerous execs from the US studio to “understand the different points of view about where the industry is.”

Lawyers were present for most of those discussions, due to the merger still moving through the regulatory process, but the Discovery CEO said he was confident of moving quickly once the deal was completed.

HBO, he continued, had been getting “stronger and stronger”, adding that shows such as Game Of Thrones, Ted Lasso – produced for Apple TV+ – and White Lotus would provide “unbelievable nourishment” to the existing offer.


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