Discovery Communications Ditches Maryland For NYC


WASHINGTON, D.C. — After more than three decades in Montgomery County, Md., just to the north of the Nation’s Capital, Discovery Communications has been lured by the bright lights of Broadway, the ad shops of Madison Avenue and the wizards of Wall Street.

Come 2019, the media company’s global headquarters will move from Silver Spring, Md., where it has been since 2003, to New York.

Discovery broke the news to its 1,300 employees in the Silver Spring office Tuesday morning (1/9).

In addition to the corporate office’s move to the Big Apple, Discovery will establish a National Operations Headquarters at Scripps’ current campus in Knoxville, Tenn. Upward of 1,000 people are employed in Tennessee, and the Operations HQ is contingent on the closing of Discovery’s acquisition of Scripps Networks Interactive.

“The media industry is rapidly evolving, increasingly global, more consumer focused and more multi-platform and Discovery must evolve with it,” explained Discovery President/CEO David Zaslav in announcing the changes to employees this morning. “The decision to move our global headquarters from its founding home is one we do not make lightly. We remain unwavering in our support of the Maryland and Greater Washington, D.C., area, and we thank the leadership of the State of Maryland, Montgomery County and, most importantly, our employees for their cooperation and understanding as we make this important next step for the long-term success of Discovery.”

Nevertheless, the relocation of Discovery’s global headquarters is a major blow to Maryland, where Discovery first set up shop in 1985, in downtown Bethesda.

The move is anticipated to occur in the second half of 2019; planning for the space and location is underway. It is being done, Discovery says, “to take advantage of the proximity to business, investment and production partners in New York.” All current Discovery and, pending closing of the transaction, Scripps employees currently located across several different facilities in New York will be invited to work in the new Global Headquarters.

What is in store for many Silver Spring employees, or for its global team, including its U.S. Hispanic and Latin America operation in Miami? “Discovery will evaluate duplication of other facilities and functions in other cities around the world following the closing of the Scripps acquisition to determine the most efficient and effective plan for housing its combined company employee base. Decisions on individual job status and relocation also will be made after the close of the Scripps acquisition.”

Discovery sought to squelch the shift from Silver Spring to New York City by confirming that it will maintain a Maryland Network Hub to house “select network and support functions,” as well as select other functions such as government relations.

Furthermore, Discovery’s media distribution facility in the Washington suburb of Sterling, Va., which originates over 80 global feeds, will become a global technology center.

Discovery Communications is comprised of Discovery Channel, TLC, Investigation Discovery, Animal Planet, Science and Turbo/Velocity, as well as OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network in the U.S., Discovery Kids in Latin America, and Eurosport, the leading provider of locally relevant, premium sports and Home of the Olympic Games across Europe.