Discovery-Scripps: Thin Is In

Discovery Communication’s $14.6 billion purchase of Scripps Networks could be the stepping-stone for a separate over-the-top or direct-to-consumer offering, as well as making its networks more compelling for existing skinny bundles, Discovery CEO David Zaslav (pictured) told analysts in a conference call to discuss the deal.

Discovery and Scripps ended weeks of speculation surrounding a possible pairing byannouncing the deal this morning, a $14.6 billion cash, stock and assumed debt transaction that will combine two of the biggest non-fiction based programmers in the industry.

But aside from the obvious synergies associated with a deal—Zaslav said the combined Discovery-Scripps controls about 20% of cable viewership but less than 10% of the economics, presenting opportunities to increase affiliate fees—the deal could make it easier to offer a separate package to consumers on its own.

Discovery already is available on Sony PlayStation Vue and DirecTV Now platforms, and Zaslav said the combination probably “helps with those discussions.” But he hinted that the two brands could be strong enough to develop a package on their own.

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