David Zaslav sees 400 million streaming subscribers in a day for combined Discovery-WarnerMedia

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Discovery CEO David Zaslav told CNBC on Monday that he believes the new company created from a merger with AT&T’s WarnerMedia could eventually attract 400 million subscribers to worldwide streaming video.

Zaslav, a media executive with decades of experience, said the two are already a quarter of the way there together. He was tapped to run the combined company.

“We own the entire ecosystem,” Zaslav said on “Squawk on the Street.” “Netflix is ​​a great company, Disney is a great company, but we have a content portfolio that is very diverse and broadly appealing.”

“We Think It Could Be” [up to] 400 million homes in the long run,” added Zaslav — who, before joining Discovery, had a long tenure at NBC, where he was instrumental in launching CNBC.

When asked whether such a lofty prediction was a realistic goal, Zaslav said, “There are billions of people we can reach in the market.”

Here’s an overview of the streaming landscape:

  • Netflix has nearly 208 million global subscribers, according to its latest quarterly figures announcement.
  • Last week, Disney said Disney+ closed its fiscal second quarter with: 103.6 million subscribers and doubled its plans to reach between 230 million and 260 million subscribers by 2024.
  • Disney also reported that its ESPN+ had 13.8 million subscribers, while its third streaming property, Hulu, had a total of 41.6 million subscribers.
  • Of the more than 200 million Amazon Prime members, the company said in April that more than 175 million of them have watched content via Prime Video in the past year.

The Discovery-WarnerMedia deal would bring together content properties including HBO, CNN, Turner Sports and the Warner Bros. studio, as well as Discovery Channel, HGTV and Food Network.

WarnerMedia’s flagship digital streaming service, HBO Max, debuted in the US in May 2020. Discovery’s direct-to-consumer streaming service, Discovery+, launched in January.

The merger agreement announced Monday represents the latest chapter in the increasingly intense streaming wars as media and entertainment companies compete directly for consumers’ dollars in a shift away from traditional pay-TV.

disclosure: Comcast is the owner of NBCUniversal, the parent company of CNBC.

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