David Jaslav, CEO of Warner Bros. Discovery, declared the consolidated company essentially the fifth broadcast network and reiterated his commitment that the company would remove any doubts about its prospects.
“I am extremely confident in our ability to improve both creatively and financially,” he said. “Simply put, we have content that viewers want.”
By omitting his name, Jaslav refers to the original Warner Bros. brothers who founded the movie studio almost a century ago, as well as John Malone, Ted Turner and Steve Ross. Another name he mentioned was a little more unexpected: Rupert Murdoch. Three decades ago, Jaslav recalled, Murdoch put the new Fox Broadcasting Network on the map by acquiring the rights to the NFL.
Today, he maintains, Discovery has reached a wider audience of 25- to 54-year-olds than any of the four major networks. 25-54 more viewers than any of the four broadcast networks.
Significantly, Zaslav did not mention the streaming service HBO Max or Discovery +, although both have been advertising since last year. Instead, he focused on Warner Bros.’s legacy and the possibility of a merger with Discovery, shaking his head at CNN and confirming that he would not let his rival go to the news outlet’s “screams and” advocacy. Instead, he added, “We are in favor of journalism. I’m going to advocate. “
In short, he said, “This is truly a moment, not only for us as a company but also for our industry.
While Disney CEO Bob Chapek took the stage at Disney’s event yesterday, CEOs have not traditionally commented in advance, which is more in the domain of sales and programming execs. Crowds of ad buyers weren’t surprised to see Uber-Boss pick up the mic at the Hulu Theater in Madison Square Garden, but it was unusual to admit to the hard-driving exec, “I’m nervous.” Since the first day of WarnerMedia and Discovery’s $ 43 billion merger, Jaslav has made it clear to those who have not worked for him for years that he wants to be a hands-on leader of the military.
The merger closed last month, shutting down WarnerMedia in AT&T transactions, leaving a majority shareholder but handing over control of the company to Jaslav and his top executives.
The advertising market will be one of the many trials for the newly merged company as it looks to continue its push in streaming as well as maintaining cash flow. HBO Max, which will be the focus of streaming efforts, added an ad-supported level in mid-2021 but the company never broke any subscribers or revenue numbers, describing the results as encouraging.
Uncertainty has been weighed on investors about how a pure-play media company like Discovery would compute with streaming transitions as well as save billions upon billions from consolidation. Shares of Warner Bros. Discovery have fallen nearly 30% since the deal was unveiled on April 8.