Why Discovery Won’t Sell Content to Peacock, Other Streaming Services

David Zaslav explains why “strategy is to keep it all for ourselves” — right now

David Zaslav isn’t looking to sell off the rights to Discovery, Inc.’s extensive library to NBCUniversal’s upcoming streaming service Peacock, or any other streaming platform for that matter — at least for now.

“We think that we’re the best global IP company and we’re the only company that has it in every language with the depth that we have. And so right now our strategy is to keep it all for ourselves,” the Discovery president and CEO said during the company’s earnings conference call Thursday, when asked by one analyst if he’d consider selling off Discovery’s “general entertainment content” to other streaming platforms, with NBCU’s Peacock specifically name-dropped in the question.

“And if we do partner, it would be partnering more like what we did with ProSieben or what we did with [Cyfrowy] Polsat,” Zaslav added.

Last June, Discovery and Germany’s ProSiebenSat.1 launched their joint streaming service, Joyn, which has the largest collection of free-TV content in the German market, according to the companies. A few months later, Discovery teamed with Cyfrowy Polsat in October to create a joint OTT service for Poland, as well as other international markets. That forthcoming platform is set to offer a wide range of local productions from both Polsat and the Discovery-owned TVN, as well as third party content.

“In the ecosystem… it looks really scalable and exciting,” Zaslav said on Thursday’s earnings call. “I’m personally super excited about this local language, local sports and partnering with other local broadcasters across Europe and Latin America. There is no other company that could do that. There might be a bunch of companies that would like to do it, but we’re in every country, we have a significant library in every country, we have commercial teams in every single country.”

“Just that idea and the way that people are reacting to it– you have Netflix out there and Disney+ coming, two great, great products, but they’re always gonna be 90/10, 80/20. And this idea of having local sports and local content feels quite good to us and we’ll keep you up to date on that.”

Ahead of the earnings call Thursday, Discovery reported it had beaten Wall Street’s earnings expectations for the fourth quarter of 2019, despite lower ratings and continued cord-cutting, and met analysts’ revenue forecasts thanks to pricing increases.

Jennifer Maas

Jennifer Maas

TV Reporter • jennifer.maas@thewrap.com • @jmaas421


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