Cable News Is Killing Us, Discovery Boss Admits

And the Olympics didn’t do David Zaslav any favors, either

David Zaslav
David Zaslav, Discovery Communications CEO

David Zaslav may hate the Olympics now for what they did to his Discovery third-quarter 2016 TV ratings, but he’ll love them come 2018 when his Eurosport shares the rings’ rights overseas.

The Discovery Communications chief executive officer has a bigger bone to pick this year, anyway. His main Discovery Channel is down about 12 percent year over year to-date, and while one can accurately point to the Rio Summer Games and a lackluster “Shark Week” as key culprits, Zaslav was unusually open in pointing his own finger elsewhere.

“The other issue, candidly, is the three news networks that are generating these massive increased audiences are hurting us disproportionately,” he said Thursday morning during his Goldman Sachs Communacopia stage time.

Zaslav was quick to add: “I’m not whining about it, we’re growing very effectively here in the U.S., we’re gonna have a hell of a year as a company.”

“Having said that, if you look at … MSNBC, CNN and Fox [News Channel], it’s an unusual year, they’re generating a huge audience and they’re taking a significant audience away from Discovery,” he continued. Just blame Donald Trump by name, David.

Zaslav went on to clarify that Discovery is not the only channel cable news is hurting, but his demo is particularly divided.