A day after the UK’s Culture Minister floated the idea of tightening media regulation in the wake of News Corp’s hacking and bribery scandal, Discovery Communications CEO David Zaslav threw some cold water on the idea. Zaslav today told the Royal Television Society Convention in Cambridge that the UK needs to keep its “light touch” and a “level playing field” for foreign players. Discovery has reason to be concerned about changes, since it invests more than $300M a year in the UK, where it broadcasts 12 channels. “It’s our largest market outside of the U.S., we’ve been here since 1989, and we’re hoping that’s not going to change,” Zaslav said. Discovery had an annual profit of $1.6B and nearly $4B in revenues last year. UK lawmakers are talking tougher media rules after allegations that the News of the World reporters hacked the phone of a murdered schoolgirl forced Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. to fold the tabloid and abandon its bid to take over BSkyB.
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