Discovery Communications’ chief David Zaslav (pictured) has been named MIPCOM 2017 Personality of the Year.
He will be honored at a gala dinner on Oct. 18, giving a keynote address earlier in the day.
Since joining as CEO in 2007, Zaslav is credited with transforming Discovery into a global leader in real-life entertainment, reaching three-billion cumulative viewers around the world.
Under Zaslav, Discovery most recently announced that it would be buying Scripps Networks Interactive for US$14.6 billion in a cash and stock transaction in an attempt to build a “global content engine”. That deal is expected to close by early 2018. Together, the two companies will combine a portfolio of brands and become home to five of the top female networks.
The combined brands in the deal include, from Discovery: Discovery Channel, TLC, Investigation Discovery, Animal Planet, Science and Turbo/Velocity, as well as OWN in the U.S., Discovery Kids in Latin America, and Eurosport. Scripps holdings in the deal include: HGTV, Food Network, Travel Channel, DIY Network, Cooking Channel and Great American Country, as well as TVN, UKTV, Asian Food Channel and Fine Living Network.
Zaslav is also known for expanding Discovery’s range of content genres and brands through investments, including taking a controlling 51 percent stake in Eurosport, which has since become home to the Olympic Games in Europe through 2024.
“David Zaslav is the visionary leader of one of our industry’s most dynamic and innovative companies,” said Reed MIDEM’s chief executive Paul Zilk, in a statement. “He continues to redefine great content and how viewers consume it in a fast-evolving marketplace.”
Past recipients of the award include Simon Cowell, Jeffery Katzenberg, Emilio Azcarraga Jean, Anne Sweeney, Fox Television Group heads Gary Newman and Dana Walden, and Shondaland founder Shonda Rhimes.m.
“It’s a tremendous honor to receive the MIPCOM 2017 Personality of the Year award, particularly during such an exciting time for our global business,” added Zaslav. “I am fortunate to lead a company at the center of our industry’s transformation as we push to innovate our world-class content and brands and nourish superfan audiences across every screen and service around the globe.”
The 33rd annual MIPCOM market will run from Oct. 16-19 in Cannes.