Discovery CEO Says He May Offer TV Everywhere Rights Soon

This may frustrate TV Everywhere evangelists including News Corp’s Chase Carey and Time Warner’s Jeff Bewkes, who have have lamented the slow rollout of the pay TV streaming services. But Discovery CEO David Zaslav isn’t ready to join the parade yet. Although there’s a “good chance” he’ll grant some TV Everywhere rights this year, most deals enabling pay TV distributors to stream Discovery’s programming will “feather in” over the next few years, Zaslav told analysts this morning. The big problem: “We couldn’t determine what the right value was.” Nielsen still doesn’t provide ratings for shows streamed to iPads. “We feel like it needs to be measured.” Zaslav also wants to hold back on negotiations until he has a better handle on how valuable TV Everywhere will be for cable and satellite companies — for example by helping them to raise rates or reduce subscriber losses. “We just need to figure out how to apportion that value.” Once those issues are resolved, Discovery has to determine whether it should cut new TV Everywhere deals with cable and satellite companies, or make streaming part of a package of rights when it renews its current distribution pacts.

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Zaslav noted, as an aside, that some distributors also want to compete with Netflix and Amazon in the subscription video on demand (SVOD) business. Discovery hasn’t provided its pay TV partners with rights to offer its programming on an SVOD basis. He isn’t opposed to the idea, though. Netflix and Amazon “have been great partners for us.” Zaslav remains on the sidelines in the debate over whether companies that license shows to streaming services help or hurt conventional, ad-supported TV viewing. “It’s way too early to tell,” he says.

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