Respected Ad Sales Exec Price Set to Leave Discovery

Ben Price, who was president of ad sales at Discovery Communications before it acquired Scripps Networks Interactive, is planning to leave after the upfronts are completed, the company said.

Price became the No. 2 sales exec at the combined company when Scripps’ Jon Steinlauf was named chief advertising sales officer by CEO David Zaslav.

Price, who had been with Discovery for 30 years and took the top slot when Joe Abruzzese retired in 2016, has agreed to work with Steinlauf through the upfront to ensure a smooth transition.

“Ben has been instrumental in building Discovery’s strong reputation in the marketplace with clients and agency partners, securing major ad sales agreements across all of our brands, and mentoring and developing hundreds of ad sales executives in his nearly 30 years with the company,” Zaslav said in an internal memo

“Most importantly, Ben is a class act…one of the most trusted and well-regarded ad sales executives in the business and one of the most beloved longstanding leaders at our company,” Zaslav said. “For all these reasons and many more, he will be greatly missed.”

“For the past 28 years, I have been extremely proud to help build Discovery’s industry-leading sales organization and collaborate with our valued client and agency partners to drive results for their initiatives and our brands," Price said. "I look forward to working with Jon to help steer the team through our first joint Upfront selling season as a combined company and facilitate a seamless transition."

It was unclear what Price planned to do next.

"Our business has changed a lot in the nearly 30 years that I’ve been a part of it, and there are many new and intriguing opportunities out there. I’m super excited about it," he said. "However, the first thing on my agenda following Upfront will be spending time back home in Los Angeles with my family.”

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.