Discovery Couldn’t Build a Scripted TV Business, So It Merged With (a Damn Good) One

·1-min read

A few years ago, nonfiction leader Discovery took a half-hearted shot at creating a scripted programming business. Beyond cable channel OWN’s own schedule, it didn’t really take. To try it again in 2021 would be, by CEO David Zaslav’s own admission, “very late” and at a “subscale” level. He found an alternative to just being happy with his alternative-programming approach. And Zaslav, who just bought some of the best possible scripted programming for the low, low price of $43 billion, is salivating over the combination of Discovery’s unscripted assets and Warner Bros./HBO’s scripted programming. “The ability to drop in to this product a ‘King Kong’ or a ‘Godzilla’ or a ‘Game of Thrones’– together, we think that this could be much more compelling,” Zaslav said Monday morning in a conference call with investors and media analysts. If you can’t build it, buy it — especially if you’re a $16 billion company looking to compete with the big boys like Netflix (with a $216 billion market cap) and Disney (with a $310 billion cap). “We’re the best nonfiction player in the U.S. It’s what we do, with the producers we deal with,” Zaslav continued. “For us to have tried to do...

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