David Zaslav talks CNN, Netflix and Opportunity at Sun Valley.

SUN VALLEY, Idaho — David Zaslav was upbeat arriving Tuesday in Sun Valley, Idaho for the Allen & Co. gathering of business media and tech moguls. The Warner Bros. Discovery CEO had kind words for Netflix and Stranger Things, telling reporters he expects the annual summit to be “a great week” amid “a lot of turmoil in business.”

Zaslav noted that Warner Bros. Discovery weighs quality and quantity concerns when planning a strategy for the combined company’s streaming future.

“That means, I think, a lot of opportunities,” said Zaslav diversity when he arrived at Sun Valley Lodge for the invitation-only conference. “And Warner Bros. Discovery has great, quality content. So I think the world has changed. And it’s not about how much, it’s about how well. And so we are very excited about our new venture and looking forward to seeing everyone in this beautiful setting. It will be a lot of fun.”

Zaslav, formerly CEO of Discovery, has led the rebranded Warner Bros. Discovery since AT&T’s acquisition of WarnerMedia closed in April. Zaslav’s first steps at the helm included hiring Chris Licht as CNN’s chief executive after Jeff Zucker’s ouster earlier this year, and shutting down the cable news network’s short-lived streamer CNN+.

On Tuesday, Zaslav responded to a question about low ratings at CNN, which didn’t get a ratings boost from last month’s coverage of the Jan. 6 hearings.

“I think Chris is doing a great job filming CNN,” Zaslav said. “Journalism first. America needs a news network where anyone can come and be heard; Republicans, Democrats. I think you see more of this on CNN. I think it’s the biggest news brand in the world with the biggest journalists. And we will get into that. We won’t look at the reviews and it will be worth more in the long run.”

One of the big plans Zaslav has announced for Warner Bros. Discovery is the eventual integration of HBO Max and Discovery+ into one platform. No timeline has yet been given for when WBD will launch the merged product, but Zaslav confirmed in Sun Valley that the plan is still to merge them into one and “we’ll be talking about how we’re going to do that.” will, and when, soon.”

Speaking of competitors, Zaslav answered a reporter’s question about how Netflix’s experimentation with the rollout strategy for Season 4 of Stranger Things, which was split into two volumes released a little over a month apart, was affecting the Warner Bros. Discovery’s own idea for rollout across streaming platforms.

“‘Stranger Things’ is a great, great, great show. And Netflix is ​​a great company; Reed and Ted,” Zaslav said, speaking of Netflix co-CEOs Reed Hastings and Ted Sarandos, both arriving for the Sun Valley conference early Tuesday. “And I think if we’re making quality content that people love, we need to create more content that people will pay for before they pay for dinner or rush home to watch.” And that is our focus. Great storytelling and that’s what Netflix is ​​focused on. And I think if we keep making great content, we’re going to be great.”

Allen & Co.’s Sun Valley conference begins in earnest Wednesday with sessions and presentations for the event, colloquially known as billionaires’ summer camp.

https://variety.com/2022/tv/news/david-zaslav-sun-valley-warner-bros-discovery-netflix-1235309552/ David Zaslav talks CNN, Netflix and Opportunity at Sun Valley.

Charles Jones

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