Chief Operating Officer and long-time Discovery Communications executive Mark Hollinger has been named president and CEO of Discovery Networks International, and Greg Ricca, current chief of DNI, will leave the company following a period of transition.
International operations have become increasingly important to U.S. content providers, including Discovery, amid the challenging domestic advertising market. In the most recent quarter, Discovery said international networks' revenue decreased 2% to $293 million due to a $22-million hit from foreign currency fluctuations. Otherwise, international revenues in the third quarter rose 6%, with 9% advertising revenue growth and 5% affiliate revenue growth, led by subscriber gains in Latin America and Asia-Pacific.
"Mark has been my most trusted partner at Discovery. He has been critical to building Discovery into the number one nonfiction media company and creating the best global footprint in all of media," Discovery Communications CEO David Zaslav said in a statement; Hollinger reports to him. "Building strong brands and growing audience share around the world is one of our key growth opportunities, and Mark's fluency in Discovery's global business, strong leadership skills and vision to grow the business makes him the ideal executive to lead Discovery Networks International into the future."
Hollinger said in the statement: "Over the past several years, the company has successfully built upon the Discovery Channel's strength as the leading television brand in the world to launch new networks, extend our HD leadership to 45 markets, and grow audience share worldwide. I am very grateful to David for giving me this opportunity, and energized to join the talented international Discovery team. I have great confidence that Discovery's extensive global operations can continue creating strong, vibrant brands and maximize our platform position for the next phase growth," said Hollinger.
Hollinger will continue as COO for Discovery Communications until a successor is named.
Hollinger joined Discovery in 1991 as vice president and deputy general counsel. In 1994, he was named acting general manager for Discovery Channel Asia. Based in Hong Kong, Hollinger was responsible for overseeing and coordinating all activities related to the launch and operation of Discovery Channel Asia.
In 1995, shortly after his return from Asia, Hollinger was appointed vice president, international business development, in addition to his other roles. He became Discovery's general counsel and also was given responsibility for Discovery's Business Affairs group in 1996. Since then he has steadily added other responsibilities.
Before joining Discovery, Hollinger was a senior associate in the entertainment department of the law firm Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison in New York City. He also lectured on entertainment law at Columbia Law School. Hollinger received his J.D. from Yale Law School and holds a B.A. degree (summa cum laude) in history and political science from Colgate University.
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