David Zaslav isn’t ready to commit just yet to the plan that Dish Network and Disney sketched last week to create a personal pay TV streaming service with most — but not all — of the leading channels. …
The firm behind shows including Gold Rush, Unexplained Files, and Dangerous Persuasions will have the freedom to expand into scripted programming and produce “high-quality independent films” following the deal, the companies say. They didn’t disclose how much Discovery paid for Raw, but say that it will “continue to operate independently from its London headquarters” with all of its current staff. “We are looking forward to Raw infusing our ever-expanding creative pipeline with compelling stories that will be seen on Discovery’s networks around the world,” Discovery Studios and Production Group President Lee Bartlett says. He adds that the deal is being unveiled on the same day that Discovery rebranded the Military Channel – now called AHC: American Heroes Channel. The two events illustrate “Discovery’s ongoing strategy of increasing investment in new brands, new content creators, new programming genres, and new opportunities across more platforms in more regions of the world,” Bartlett says.
In this week’s audio podcast, Deadline International Editor Nancy Tartaglione and host David Bloom look at the possibility that frenemies John Malone and Rupert Murdoch will combine and snap up the UK’s Channel 5, even as a booming ITV opts out; and Amazon’s new combination platter of Prime services that are challenging Netflix more aggressively in Britain, including through a partnership with the BBC to revive the cancelled period drama Ripper Street. They also preview those other big awards this weekend, France’s Cesars, and take their weekly look at the international box office, as both Frozen and The Hobbit 2: The Desolation Of Smaug continue to rack up huge cumulative grosses.
This should give the Discovery chief a little more job security at a time when the air is filled with deal talk following Comcast’s $42.5B agreement to buy Time Warner Cable. Liberty Media Chairman John Malone gave …
In December 2012, Discovery Communications entered a strategic alliance with France’s TF1 and as part of the deal, it took a 20% stake in the group’s pan-European sports platform, Eurosport. At the time, Discovery said it had the option to raise its interest to 51% in two years. Today’s announcement accelerates that move by one year with Discovery upping its stake in Eurosport to a majority interest. TF1 will now retain a put option that could require Discovery to buy the remaining 49%. The flagship Eurosport network reaches 133M homes in 54 countries and 20 languages. It focuses on regionally popular niche sports including tennis, cycling, skiing, skating, and curling. The group also includes Eurosport, Eurosport HD, Eurosport Asia-Pacific and 24-hour channel and online hub, Eurosportnews. Following are the full details of today’s deal:
JB Perrette joined Discovery in 2011 as Chief Digital Officer. He’s since spearheaded the acquisitions of Revision3 and DeFranco Creative, as well as the launches of digital/online networks Animalist and TestTube, and the implementation of Skywire Live and Animal Planet L!VE, among other initiatives. The exec will replace Mark Hollinger who is resigning as president of Discovery Networks International after 23 years at the company. Perrette, who’s also a veteran of NBCUniversal, will oversee Discovery’s growing international business. Last year, the company acquired SBS Nordics and a 20% stake in Eurosport as well as launching TLC in the UK and growing overseas ratings by 25%. Perrette’s appointment comes two weeks after Discovery extended chief David Zaslav’s contract through 2019. Click over for full details of today’s news:
The extension comes with a nice compensation bump for the Discovery chief, already one of the media industry’s highest paid CEOs with $49.9M in 2012. The goal is to make David Zaslav “a significant long-term shareholder in Discovery Communications,” the company says this morning adding that he “has committed to hold the majority of his equity from stock grants to term, furthering the alignment of shareholder and management interests.” Following a year when the company stock appreciated 36.2%, Zaslav’s annual salary will remain at $3M, but his target annual bonus for 2014 will go to $6.6M and rise by $600,000 a year until 2018 when it will be $9M, according to an SEC filing this morning. His 2011 contract set the target at $5M with annual increases of $500,000. By the end of March he’ll also receive 224,845 sign-on “performance-based restricted stock units” that will pay off if he remains on the job and the company meets undisclosed performance metrics at year end. He also will receive stock appreciation rights that pay off if the share price continues to rise. Zaslav will have a $1,400 a month car allowance and has personal use of the Discovery jet for 200 hours a year — although the company will only pay for the first 100 hours. The stock awards vest if someone else takes control of Discovery. “Securing David for the next six years recognizes his value to the enterprise, and provides continuity, strong leadership, and his trademark high energy to Discovery for many years to come,” company founder and Chairman John Hendricks says.
Here’s the company’s release:
Investors are excited by a report in Variety that says the matter was discussed at a Discovery board meeting today. Scripps Networks shares are up 15.6% in post-market trading to $87, which would be a new high …
This is a surprise: Discovery has been slow to grant streaming rights to its programming, waiting to see how much extra distributors would be willing to pay — and when Nielsen would begin to measure viewing on iPads and other …
Investors will be looking at the international numbers; Q3 was the first full quarter in which Discovery owned Scandinavian TV and radio company SBS Nordic. And at first glance it looks like things were OK for the company’s overseas …
Discovery Communications has picked up The Five Families, a scripted series from Irwin Winkler and Nicholas Pileggi (Goodfellas). Written by Pileggi, the project is based on the real figures and actual events in the history of the …
Kevin Bennett has been promoted to general manager, Investigation Discovery and Military Channel, and EVP programming, ID, Military Channel and Destination America. He will continue to report to Henry Schleiff, Group President ID, Military Channel and Destination America. From the announcement:
BetaFilm debuted Sky Italia crime series Gomorrah on Sunday here at Mipcom. Based on the book by Roberto Saviano, the 12-hour series has secured deals with Sky Germany, HBO Nordic, HBO Latin America, Arrow Film in the UK and Lumiere for the Netherlands. Other negotiations are ongoing. Gomorrah is produced by Sky, Cattleya and Fandango in collaboration with La7 and Beta Film. The drama delves into the Camorra, the inner sanctum of organized crime in Naples. Saviano’s book was also the basis for Matteo Garrone’s 2008 Cannes Grand Jury Prize-winner Gomorrah. Stefano Sollima directs six of the episodes of the miniseries which is still in production. Claudio Cupellini and Francesca Comencini helm the remaining episodes.
Discovery Communications’ TLC today announced it had ordered two new projects that take viewers into “the hidden world of the FLDS church.” One is about about insiders trying to leave the church; the second follows an outsider who helps people break away. A sneak peek at the first, called Breaking the Faith, will air within the season finale of TLC’s Breaking Amish: LA, AMISH: LA this Sunday, September 29.
The FLDS religion remains one of the most secretive communities in America, a world of unquestioned authority, arranged marriage, and little contact to the outside world. Often in the headlines for its extreme beliefs and behaviors, the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints continues to be led by its president – and self-described prophet – Warren Jeffs, despite his 2011 conviction on two felony counts of child sexual assault. With an estimated 10,000 followers of the church, no series has fully explored the experiences of individuals who choose to leave the compound – until now.
This fall, TLC premieres two new series that take viewers on a remarkable exploration of faith, fear, and strength, while providing very different perspectives: from insiders as they leave the faith, and from the outsider as they help people break away. The first, BREAKING THE FAITH, follows several young men and women who escape the community to start new lives. Then, ESCAPING THE PROPHET documents the efforts of former FLDS member Flora Jessup as she helps families flee the compound.
Silver Spring, Md. (September 18, 2013) – Discovery Communications today announced that Discovery Networks International President & CEO Mark Hollinger has announced his resignation, effective June, 2014. Hollinger is responsible for the strategic development and daily operations for a division that distributes 42 entertainment brands, in 45 languages, to more than 1.6 billion cumulative subscribers in 224 countries and territories across Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Asia-Pacific and Latin America.
Citing a concern with the bottom line over safety, the widow and children of a Special Forces vet killed in February while filming a military-themed Discovery Channel show took its parent company to court this week in a wrongful death and negligence suit. Grisel Donatelli, Amanda Donatelli and Dominic Donatelli named Discovery Communications, producers Eyeworks USA, Bongo Inc, Van Nuys Copters, Crossbow Helicopters and Orbic Air and others in the complaint (read it here) filed late Thursday in LA Superior Court. Cast member Michael Donatelli, cameraman Darren Rydstrom and pilot David Gibbs died in the early morning of February 10 when the helicopter the trio was in crashed in an open field at the Polsa Rosa Ranch in Acton.
The new complaint alleges this accident and others like it occurred in part because Discovery and other defendants wanted to save a buck and increase their profits. “Discovery, Discovery Talent, Eyeworks, Bongo and Does 51 through 100 and each of them, also have had an extensive history of knowingly failing to provide adequate safety measures for the filming of reality series such as this one,” the filing says. “These safety problems were the result of cost-cutting measures aimed at increasing profits as a result of conscious disregard of the additional, unacceptable safety risks imposed. These safety problems have resulted in injuries and death in the filming of such television series, and have continued to do so following the death of Decedent Donatelli,” it adds.