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Discovery’s David Zaslav on Upfront: ‘We Need Pricing’

David Zaslav Discovery Stock Options
David Zaslav

Discovery is not done with its upfront and is pushing for higher prices, CEO David Zaslav said.

Speaking at the Credit Suisse Communications Conference on Tuesday morning, Zaslav said Discovery has historically been underpriced relative to broadcast and is looking to close the gap.

“We’re not done, which is a good thing,” he said. “We need pricing. And We’re getting pricing. We have a very equitable argument.”

On Monday NBCUniversal and The Walt Disney Co. said they were essentially done with their upfront negotiations. 

NBCU CEO Jeff Shell said his company’s strategy was to move early to take advantage of the market’s strength coming out of the pandemic and the short supply of ratings point cause by viewers moving to ad-free streaming platforms. 

Disney CEO Bob Chapek said that 40% of Disney’s upfront ad revenue was going to digital and streaming platforms.

Last week, the CW closed its upfront negotiations with price increase on a cost-per-thousand viewers basis of 19% to 21%, according to sources.

Zaslav confirmed that the up market was the hottest he’s ever seen, with price increases in the 20% range.

“Everyone is doing well. I think we’ll do very well. We’ll out-perform,” he said. “It’s a good summer for all of us.” 

Jon Lafayette
Jon Lafayette

Jon has been business editor of Broadcasting+Cable since 2010. He focuses on revenue-generating activities, including advertising and distribution, as well as executive intrigue and merger and acquisition activity. Just about any story is fair game, if a dollar sign can make its way into the article. Before B+C, Jon covered the industry for TVWeek, Cable World, Electronic Media, Advertising Age and The New York Post. A native New Yorker, Jon is hiding in plain sight in the suburbs of Chicago.