The deal combines two treasure troves of content and portends further changes in the age of broadcasting.
Warner Bros. will start The newly formed Discovery went public on Monday. Zaslav said he will hold a city council event for employees of the merged company later in the week.
“I am confident that our collective energy and true love for these companies and brands will build the most dynamic media and entertainment company in the world,” Zaslav said in a note to employees on Friday afternoon.
Zaslav said Warner Bros. Discovery “can drive the creation of high-quality content; create more opportunities for underrepresented independent storytellers and creators; and serve customers with more innovative video experiences and touch points.”
The deal, which was first announced last May, is a culminating moment for Zaslav and his old VPs at Discovery, known for brands like Animal Planet, TLC and HGTV. The merger adds HBO, CNN, TNT, Turner Sports and Warner Bros. film studio. And a huge range of other media assets to the company.
Setting the stage to compete with the likes of Disney and Netflix, Zaslav said in a note on Friday that “we are well positioned to become a top-tier competitor.”
He confirmed that the major streaming services from each side of the company, HBO Max and discovery +, would be rolled out “into a single product in the future.”
The merger propelled Zaslav to the highest level in the media sphere, controlling everything from a legendary film studio to a global news network.
As Rich Greenfield, influencer media analyst at LightShed Partners, told CNN Business, “David Goliath can really be defeated!” “Zaslav and his team found themselves in a position they could not have imagined two years ago – sitting near the top of Hollywood,” Greenfield said.
AT&T CEO John Stanke bid farewell to the media company in a candid note to employees on Friday. “Getting to this moment,” he wrote, “was one of the hardest decisions of my life.” “I’m sure you’re not surprised that she came in with a fair amount of apprehension, disappointment, and anxiety in terms of the changes she’s going to launch. All that in mind, I’m still confident we’ve set the right course.”
“Over time, the combination of WarnerMedia and Discovery will create a stronger company and accelerate the already strong pace of innovation and change,” Stanke wrote.
Warner Bros. expects. Discovery could reach $3 billion in what companies often refer to as “synergies,” meaning the merger would almost certainly involve layoffs. Already, several of Warner’s top executives have left the company, including WarnerMedia CEO Jason Keeler, who had his last day on Friday.
“We are creating a simpler organizational structure with fewer layers, more accountability and more screen-focused resources,” Zaslav wrote in an internal memo on Thursday.
Three key creative executives from WarnerMedia will also report directly to Zaslav: Casey Bloys, Chief Content Officer at HBO; Warner Bros. Television Group Chairman Channing Dungey; and Toby Emmerich, Chairman, Warner Bros. Group.
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