Discovery Communications

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Discovery Communications, Inc.
NASDAQ-100 Components (DISCA and DISCK)
S&P 500 Components (DISCA and DISCK)
Industry Mass media
Predecessor Discovery Holding Company
Founded 1985 as The Discovery Channel
1994 as Discovery Communications
Founder John S. Hendricks
Headquarters Silver Spring, Maryland, U.S.
Area served
Key people
Robert Miron
David M. Zaslav
(President and CEO)
Products Broadcasting, cable television, radio and Internet
  • Increase US$ 5.5 billion (2013)[1]
  • Increase US$ 4.4 billion (2012)[1]
  • Increase US$ 1,998.0 million (2013)[1]
  • Increase US$ 1,855.0 million (2012)[1]
  • Increase US$ 1,075.0 million (2013)[1]
  • Decrease US$ 943.0 million (2012)[1]
Total assets
  • Increase US$ 14,979.0 million (2013)[2]
  • Increase US$ 12,930.0 million (2012)[1]
Total equity
  • Decrease US$ 6,197.0 million (2013)[2]
  • Decrease US$ 6,293.0 million (2012)[2]
Number of employees
5,486 (2014)
Divisions List of Divisions
Subsidiaries Media Alliance (20%)[3]

Discovery Communications, Inc. is an American global mass media and entertainment company based in Silver Spring, Maryland. The company started as a single channel in 1985, The Discovery Channel.

Discovery also is a provider of educational products and services to schools, including a series of K-12 digital textbooks, through Discovery Education, and Discovery Digital Networks.[4]

DCI both produces original television programming and acquires content from producers worldwide. This non-fiction programming is offered through DCI's more than 50 network entertainment brands, including Discovery Channel, TLC, Animal Planet, Investigation Discovery, OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network, Science Channel, Velocity, American Heroes Channel, Discovery Family, Discovery Life and a family of digital channels.

Despite being publicly traded on the NASDAQ stock exchange, the Newhouse family exercise the largest stake in the company, 31%, through privately held Advance Publications.[5]

Discovery Digital Network shows are offered through multiple services, including,,, YouTube, iTunes, and more than 40 other distribution partners and devices.[6] Discovery has 375 million monthly online streams of its programming.[7]

Discovery launched Discovery Channel Online, the network's website, on July 4, 1995.[8]

In April 2014, Discovery announced a partnership with Brian Grazer and Ron Howard to launch digital studio New Form.[9]

In May 2014, Discovery and Liberty Global announced an agreement to form a 50:50 joint venture to acquire All3Media, a producer and distributor of TV programming.[10]

In December 2015, Discovery launched the company’s first U.S. TVE streaming service, Discovery GO, connecting viewers with live and on-demand access to shows and series from nine U.S. networks in the Discovery portfolio – Discovery Channel, TLC, Animal Planet, Investigation Discovery, Science Channel, Velocity, Destination America, American Heroes Channel and Discovery Life.[11]

Corporate governance


NBCUniversal executive David Zaslav was named president and CEO on November 16, 2006.[12]

In addition to Zaslav, current executives include:[13]

  • Joe Abruzzese, President of Advertising Sales
  • Adria Alpert Romm, Chief Human Resources & Global Diversity Officer
  • Bruce Campbell, Chief Development, Distribution & Legal Officer
  • Bill Goodwyn, President & CEO Discovery Education
  • Paul Guyardo, Chief Commercial Officer
  • John Honeycutt, Chief Technology Officer
  • David Leavy, Chief Communications Officer, Senior Executive Vice President, Corporate Marketing & Business Operations
  • Jean-Briac (JB) Perrette, President, Discovery Networks International
  • Andrew Warren, Senior Executive Vice President, Chief Financial Officer


Prior to September 18, 2008, DCI's ownership consisted of three shareholders:

On December 13, 2007, Discovery Holding Company announced a restructuring plan. Under the plan, the Discovery Holding's Ascent Media business would be spun off, and the remaining businesses, Discovery Communications, LLC and Advance/Newhouse Communications, would be combined into a new holding company.[14] The reorganization was completed on September 17, 2008. The new Discovery Communications, Inc. is now a fully public company and trades on the NASDAQ stock market under the symbols DISCA, DISCB, and DISCK. SEC filings are submitted by the Discovery Holding Company.[15]

In May 2014, the company announced a special dividend of shares of the Company's Series C common stock payable to holders of record of the Company's Series A common stock, Series B common stock and Series C common stock as of the close of business on July 28, 2014. As a result of the dividend, each holder of a share of the Company's Series A common stock, Series B common stock or Series C common stock will receive one additional share of the Company's Series C common stock on or about August 6, 2014.[16]


DCI operates its businesses in the following groups: Discovery Networks U.S., Discovery Networks International, Discovery Studios Group, Discovery Digital Media, and Discovery Education.[17]

Discovery Networks U.S.

The company started out with just a single channel, Discovery Channel, launched in 1985. In 1991, they acquired their rival The Learning Channel.

In the mid-90s, Discovery Communications started developing several new networks. The first of these to launch was Animal Planet, which was launched in cooperation with the BBC in 1996. In October 1996, four digital networks were launched to take advantage of the then-new digital cable space; Discovery Kids, Discovery Travel & Living Network, Discovery Civilization Network and Discovery Science Network.[18] This was followed by the 1998 launches of Discovery Wings Channel and Discovery Health Channel.

They also bought the Travel Channel in 1997, CBS Eye on People (became Discovery People) in 1998 and The Health Network (became FitTV) in 2001.

Discovery Networks were early to go into high-definition television with the launch of Discovery HD Theater in 2002. With the launch of high-definition simulcasts of Discovery Channel, TLC, Animal Planet and Science Channel in 2007, the original HD channel changed its name to HD Theater. In December 2015, the company launched its first U.S. TVE streaming service, Discovery GO, connecting viewers with live and on-demand access to shows and series from nine U.S. networks in the Discovery portfolio – Discovery Channel, TLC, Animal Planet, Investigation Discovery, Science Channel, Velocity, Destination America, American Heroes Channel and Discovery Life.[19]

Starting in the middle of the 2000s, Discovery have been reviewing and overhauling most of their "digital" networks.[20] The networks have evolved from being offshoots of the Discovery Channel, into separate entities with their own identities. The "Discovery" moniker has gradually been dropped from channel names. Some networks had kept the globe in their logo to signal their affiliation to Discovery Networks, but this practice has also been gradually discontinued.

Discovery Networks U.S. operates 13 channels.[21] According to SEC filings, the division "also operates web sites related to its channel businesses and various other new media businesses, including a video-on-demand offering distributed by various cable operators."

The division's channels include:[22]

Discovery Channel 1985 95 million Flagship network
TLC 1980 93 million Acquired by Discovery Communications in May 1991, previously known as The Learning Channel.
Animal Planet 1996 92 million
Investigation Discovery 1996 85 million Formerly Discovery Times, Discovery Civilization
OWN 2011 80 million Joint venture ownership with Harpo Productions
Science 1996 73 million Formerly Discovery Science
Discovery Family 1996 67 million Initially launched as Discovery Kids in 1996, relaunched as The Hub in 2010, renamed Hub Network on 2013 and rebranded as Discovery Family in 2014.[24]
40% of the network is owned by Hasbro.
Velocity 2002 65 million Formerly Discovery HD Theater and HD Theater
American Heroes Channel 1999 58 million Formerly Discovery Wings, Military Channel
Destination America 1996 56 million Formerly Discovery Home and Leisure (1998–2004), Discovery Home (2004–08), and Planet Green (2008–12)
Discovery Life 2011 47 million Merger of Discovery Health Channel and FitTV, previously known as Discovery Fit & Health
Discovery en Español 1998 7 million Spanish-language version of the Discovery Channel
Unavailable in HD
Discovery Familia 2007 6 million[25] Unavailable in HD

Discovery Networks International

Led by flagship network Discovery Channel, Discovery Network International,[26] distributes international brands, including Discovery Channel, TLC, Real Time, Discovery Home & Health, Animal Planet, Discovery Science, DMAX, Discovery Kids, ID: Investigation Discovery, Discovery Turbo, Discovery Turbo Xtra, Discovery Max, Discovery World, Shed, Discovery History, Discovery HD Showcase, Discovery HD Theater, Discovery HD World, Discovery en Español, Discovery Familia, Discovery Civilization, Eurosport's four pay-TV network brands across Europe and Asia, Switchover Media’s five brands in Italy, Fatafeat in the Middle East, and SBS Discovery Media’s 17 television brands in the Nordic region. The company employs an extensive localization strategy by offering customized schedules and programming in 45 languages worldwide via hundreds of distribution feeds.

In June 2015, Discovery Communications won the multiplatform rights across Europe to the Olympic Games from 2018 to 2024.[27] Discovery and Eurosport promised more coverage than ever across screens to Europe's 700 million residents. Discovery paid 1.3 billion euros for the rights in 50 countries (France and the UK for just the 2022 and 2024 games) and committed to broadcast 200 hours of the summer games and 100 hours of the winter games on free-to-air TV.

Discovery Channel 1989 386 million
TLC 312 million
Animal Planet 1997 303 million
Eurosport Acquired in 2014 151 million
Investigation Discovery 114 million
Switchover Media Acquired in 2013[28] 101 million
Discovery Kids 1996 93 million
Discovery Science 1997 87 million
DMAX 2006 84 million Launch: 2006 Germany, 2008 UK & Ireland, 2011 Italy, 2014 Asia
Discovery Home & Health 2000 69 million
Discovery Turbo/Discovery Turbo Xtra 2005 65 million

All other networks here.[29]

Discovery Studios Group

Discovery Studios Group is a full service production, distribution and merchandising group within Discovery Communications.[17]

Discovery Studios Group consists of:

  • Discovery Studios
  • Discovery Consumer Products
  • Discovery Program Sales
  • Discovery Private Networks
  • Discovery Music Source
  • Discovery Access
  • Raw

Discovery Digital Networks

Discovery's portfolio of web-native networks, Discovery Digital Networks,[30] includes Revision3, Animalist, TestTube, SourceFed and The DeFranco Network. Company CEO David Zaslav said those digital networks have more than 200 million views a month with 50 million of those on Facebook. [31]

Discovery Education

Discovery Education is a division which offers "standards-based digital content for K-12, transforming teaching and learning with award-winning digital textbooks, multimedia content, professional development, and the largest professional learning community of its kind." Discovery Education partners with districts, states and like-minded organizations to captivate students, empower teachers, and transform classrooms with customized solutions that increase academic achievement. In 2013, Discovery Education expanded its reach by acquiring Espresso Group Ltd.[32] Serving 3 million educators and over 30 million students, Discovery Education’s services are in half of U.S. classrooms, over 40 percent of all primary schools in the UK, and more than 50 countries.[33]


Discover Networks announced in November 1994 to launch new channels by second quarter 1995. Those channels were Animal Planet, the Science channel, Living home channel and the Time Traveler history channel.[34]

On March 17, 2009, Discovery revealed that it owned the rights to several patents related to e-books, in announcing a patent infringement lawsuit against, maker of the Kindle e-book reading device. The patents were originally developed by the company's founder John Hendricks; the specific patent in question in the suit was applied for in 1999 but issued in late 2007.[35][36]

On December 21, 2012, Discovery announced it had taken a 20% minority interest share with TF1 Group in sports broadcaster Eurosport, valued at €170 million (US$221.6 million).[37] On January 21, 2014, Discovery became the majority shareholder in Eurosport, taking a 51% share of the company.[38] In 2015 Eurosport sports television network Setanta Sports Asia. On Oct. 1, as previously announced, Discovery closed a transaction to acquire 100% of Eurosport.[39]

In November 2015, Discovery took a 3.4% interest in Lionsgate with Discovery President and CEO David Zaslav joining Lionsgate's board of directors.[40] "As with all our creative partners, we look forward to telling world-class stories with Jon and the deep management team at Lionsgate, and further strengthening Discovery's content pipeline across our linear and digital platforms around the world," Zaslav said.

2010 hostage crisis

On September 1, 2010, the DCI headquarters was the site of a hostage taking, a lone gunman identified as James J. Lee, armed with two starter pistols[41] and an explosive device, took three people hostage inside of the Discovery Communications headquarters in Silver Spring, Maryland, prompting an evacuation of the building.

The incident began at 1:00 p.m. ET, when 43-year-old James Jay Lee entered the building with two starter pistols and fired a single round at the ceiling of the lobby.[42][43] The Montgomery County Police Department (MCPD) confirmed that Lee had an explosive device and was holding three people[44] hostage in the lobby.[42][45] The building was placed on lockdown and most of the 1,500 employees were evacuated.[45] Children from a day care center inside were safely removed to a nearby McDonald's restaurant on Colesville Rd.[42] The police began to communicate with Lee soon after the incident began.[42] The Montgomery County police chief, J. Thomas Manger, said that the police were "trying to get him to release the hostages and surrender peacefully".[45] Lee was shot dead by an MCPD SWAT team at 4:48 p.m. ET after the hostages made a run to escape.[46] The remaining hostages were immediately freed.[47] The incident was described by the FBI as the first instance of a would-be suicide bomber taking hostages in the United States.[48]

Lee's motive was believed to have been grounded in environmental activism. Lee had previously been arrested in 2008 while protesting in front of the same site.

The National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism (START) at the University of Maryland has since labeled the crime a terrorist attack.[49]

James Jay Lee (c. 1967 – September 1, 2010) was born to a Korean-American father and a Japanese mother, in Los Angeles, California and raised in Hawaii.[50] He was an environmental protester who, in 2008, was given six months of supervised probation and fined $500 after he was arrested during a protest outside the Discovery Communications headquarters. In 2003, he was convicted of smuggling an illegal immigrant into the country from Mexico and sentenced to 18 months in prison.[41]

Lee had published criticisms of the network in an online manifesto at,[43] among which was a demand for the company to cease the broadcasting of television series displaying or encouraging the birth of "parasitic human infants and the false heroics behind those actions".[51] His manifesto also railed against "immigration pollution and anchor baby filth", leading commentators such as Mark Potok of the Southern Poverty Law Center to decry Lee as an "eco-fascist".[52] Lee's opinions were dominated by Malthusian analysis,[53] though he also cited works ranging from Daniel Quinn's novel My Ishmael to former U.S. Vice President Al Gore's documentary An Inconvenient Truth.[54] The Washington Post credited the Twitter community for initially breaking the story.[55]

Corporate identity branding campaign

On October 1, 2013, the 13 Discovery-owned or co-owned networks in the U.S. began airing 10-second wraparounds after many of their show promos. The network logos are arranged in a circle around the phrase "Your Family of Networks." Through animation, the logos then spin and dissolve, revealing the parent company's logo at the end.

See also


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 "Discovery Communications, Inc. 2013 Annual Report Form (10-K)" (XBRL). United States Securities and Exchange Commission. February 20, 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 "Discovery Communications, Inc. 2014 Q1 Quarterly Report Form (10-Q)" (XBRL). United States Securities and Exchange Commission. May 6, 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. "Russian Government Approves Discovery's Joint Venture With National Media Group". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 2015-12-30.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. "Our Mission".<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. Flamm, Matthew (13 December 2010). "Advance Publications waving around $500M". Retrieved 22 June 2012.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. "Discovery Digital Networks".<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. [1]
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  10. "DISCOVERY COMMUNICATIONS AND LIBERTY G… : Discovery Communications".<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  12. Ahrens, Frank (November 17, 2006). "Discovery Appoints New Chief". The Washington Post.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  13. "Leadership".<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  14. Archived from the original on December 31, 2007. Missing or empty |title= (help)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  15. Information statement: Discovery Holding Company. U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.
  16. "Corporate Press Release".<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  17. 17.0 17.1 "The Studios Group".<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  18. "Discovery goes digital. (Discovery Communications Inc. to launch four new digital cable television networks)". Multichannel News. September 1996.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>[dead link]
  20. Ahrens, Frank (November 27, 2007). "Discovery Hopes for Payoff on Crime Channel". The Washington Post.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
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  25. "Globe: A Quarterly Newsletter from Discovery Communications". April 2010.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  26. "Discovery Networks International : Discovery Communications".<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  28. "Discovery Communications Acquires Swit… : Discovery Communications".<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
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  33. Missing or empty |title= (help)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  34. Brown, Rich. (November 21, 1994). "Discovery unveils niche channels; four new services could be followed by more in coming year. (Discovery Networks)." Broadcasting & Cable (NewBay Media LLC). Retrieved April 27, 2015 from HighBeam Research.
  35. Discovery Communications, Inc. v., Inc. - Complaint for Patent Infringement in the United States District Court for the District of Maryland, March 17, 2009
  36. Discovery hits Amazon with Kindle patent suit, CNet News, March 17, 2009
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  43. 43.0 43.1 "Suspect in Maryland hostage situation published angry online manifesto". CNN. September 1, 2010. Retrieved September 1, 2010.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
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  50. 한국인 아버지-일본인 어머니…자식들이 어릴 때 이혼했다 (in Korean). LA Joongang Ilbo. September 2, 2010. Unknown parameter |trans_title= ignored (help) <templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles> (Google Translation)
  51. Theresa Vargas (September 1, 2010). "James J. Lee is suspect in Discovery hostage case, officials say". The Washington Post.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  52. Mark Potok (September 1, 2010). "Apparent Eco-Terrorist Holding Hostages at TV Building". Hatewatch (blog), Southern Poverty Law Center.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  53. Leonard, Andrew (Sep 1, 2010). "How Malthus drove the Discovery Channel gunman crazy". Salon. p. 1. Retrieved 3 January 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  54. "Police kill Discovery building gunman". MSNBC. 9/1/2010. Retrieved 3 September 2010. Check date values in: |date= (help)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  55. Paul Farhi (September 1, 2010). "Twitter breaks story on Discovery Channel gunman". The Washington Post.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links