Documentary Business

Peter Hamilton Consultants, Inc

Discovery Communications CEO David Zaslav’s Compensation in 2014: $156 Million

According to last Friday’s regulatory filing by Discovery Communications, in the first year of his new contract, CEO David Zaslav earned $156.1 million, up from $33.3 million in 2013.

The package covers:

  • $3 million in salary.
  • $94.6 million in stock awards that vest over six years if Discovery achieves certain goals.
  • $50.5 million in option awards.
  • $6.1 million in other incentivs.
  • $1.9 million in other compensation, including:
    • $296,930 for personal use of the company aircraft.
    • $50,324 for tax allowances.
    • $16,800 car allowance.
    • $16,619 for personal security.
    • $3,614 for home office expenses.

According to Discovery’s board, the stock awards “… drive immediate shareholder alignment and encourage long-term ownership of our stock. This contract rewards Mr. Zaslav for the value he has created and the continued strategic direction he provides and requires sustained performance over time for that award to have value. At the end of his contract, Mr. Zaslav will own a substantial amount of equity of Discovery, which reinforces his alignment with our shareholders and encourages long-term ownership of our stock.”

Discovery Communications’ market capitalization has quadrupled since 2007 from $5 billion to $20 billion.

According to Deadline Hollywood’s David Lieberman:

  • “Discovery ‘s adjusted stock price fell 25.4% in 2014, a year when the S&P 500 appreciated 17.2%.”
  • “Discovery revenues increased 13.2% to $6.27 billion with net income up 6% to $1.14 billion.”

Cannes Meeting

I last met with David Zaslav in Cannes, where he kindly outlined his strategy for global growth just as the US market was peaking.


I shared my signed, laminated copy of the cover page of Discovery’s first international business plan, which I had presented to the board:

  • That plan covered UK, Scandinavia and Netherlands.
  • Discovery now reaches 200+ countries!
  • And International comprises around 40% of Discovery’s $20Bn valuation.

Discovery spends an estimated $1.5Bn on original programming worldwide.



  • MIPDoc, Cannes, Saturday April 11 – Sunday April 12
  • Center for Communications, New York: ‘In Conversation With…’ Monday April 27 (Documentaries) & Thursday April 30 (Reality)
  • South African Indies / ATFT, Jo’burg, Durban + Cape Town,  Friday April 17 – Wednesday April 22
  • On Screen Manitoba, Winnipeg, Tuesday May 5
  • Atlanta MasterClass, with Tomorrow Pictures, Saturday May 16
  • Sunnyside of the Doc, La Rochelle, June 22-25