Discovery Communications CEO Touts Ad Upside

David M. Zaslav | Discovery Communications
Stephen Lovekin/Getty Images

2010 Pay: $42.6 million (+264% from 2009)
Discovery stock change for fiscal year: +36%

David Zaslav also tells an investor conference about OWN's improving momentum and continued international growth.

Discovery Communications CEO David Zaslav on Tuesday touted the advertising rate upside for his company's cable networks.

Speaking at the Deutsche Bank 2013 Media, Internet & Telecom Conference in Palm Beach, Fla., he also said that momentum "looks favorable" for his company ahead of this year's upfront ad market. The session was webcast.

Zaslav highlighted that there is a difference of "still well over 30 percent" in terms of ad rates compared with those of broadcasters. And that even though Discovery beats broadcast networks on Fridays with hit shows such as Gold Rush.

"You can't double your CPM even if you can argue that you should," Zaslav said. The comforting thing is that a high-growth network like ID has so much upside in ad rates that if it stopped growing for three years, it would still get increases, he argued.

Zaslav also said that growth in programming spending will moderate significantly thanks to recent show successes.

Asked about Oprah Winfrey joint venture OWN, Zaslav said: "OWNis doing terrifically well in terms of turning its narrative around."

He also touted recent international acquisitions and emphasized his confidence in continued growth abroad. Discovery had better than 15 percent growth at its international operations in 2012 despite weak economies in European countries and weaker Brazil growth, he said.


Twitter: @georgszalai