Discovery CEO Disputes T-Mobile’s Online TV Service Distribution

David Zaslav, CEO of Discovery, Nov. 5 reiterated his concern about T-Mobile’s recently launched online TV platform, TVision, and its distribution of Discovery Channel, Food Network, HGTV and TLC. The entry-level service offers 30 channels, including AMC Networks, Animal Planet; BBC America; BBC World News; BET; BET Her; CMT, and Comedy Central, among others.

Speaking on a fiscal call, Zaslav questioned why TVision, which launched in late October offering online TV subscription packages priced from $10 to $60 monthly, only carries the Discovery platforms on the lowest-priced option, TVision Vibe.

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“We were very surprised with how T-Mobile decided that they were going to bundle our networks, particularly because we have a clear agreement where our networks are required to be carried on all their … OTT offerings,” Zaslav said.

Discovery, like all pay-TV channels, is looking to expand distribution as the linear TV business model contracts and consumers migrate to less-expensive over-the-top video content. The company is set to launch its own branded SVOD platform, Discovery+, some time next year — and likely priced higher than $10 a month.

“So let’s just characterize it this way: We’re in active discussion with them to quickly resolve that issue,” Zaslav said. “We don’t believe they have the right to do what they’re doing right now. And they know. It’s very clear to them and they’re focused on it.”


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