14.54 Europe/London, September 15, 2011 By Julian Clover

RTS – Cambridge. Discovery CEO David Zaslav has called on broadcasters to embrace over-the-top video and not to repeat the mistakes of the past.

Delivering the International Keynote to the RTS Cambridge Convention, Zaslav said the TV everywhere concept held the best promise because it respected the revenue model. “Without great contents and brands all those devices and wires would be as we pejoratively say dumb pipes.”

It was impossible to fight the new platforms and no question that people wanted to watch content on them. “If we become lost in shows, what I call super a la carte the consumer is going to lose and were going to lose. We have to make sure we protect the integrity of the brand and our content.”

Zaslav said Discovery Channel had been here before, but now had an opportunity to revisit some of the content that has been created by Discovery over the past 25 years, much of it owned directly by the channel itself. “We had an opportunity a few years ago with the distributors and its called VOD. We couldn’t reach agreement with the cable operators, so they got some content, but it wasn’t the best.” Consumers, said Zaslav, had to go through several button pushes only to be disappointed.

Turning his attention to the new legislation announced yesterday (Wednesday) by culture secretary Jeremy Hunt, Zaslav expressed concern over the possible treatment of foreign owned companies, and said he would not want the market to change in a way that created an uneven playing field.

From its launch in the UK in 1989, initially on UK cable alone, Discovery has grown to 65 channels across Europe. Zaslav said he saw further grown in Brazil, Turkey and India; and in Russia where Discovery advertising revenues grew by 50% over the last year.