Discovery Communications Reviews

Updated July 24, 2015
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3.7
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Discovery Communications President and CEO David M. Zaslav
David M. Zaslav
175 Ratings

Pros
  • Good work/life balance programs (in 27 reviews)

  • Large company with great benefits, including telework options (in 27 reviews)

Cons
  • No work-life balance if you are in a position that supports broadcast (in 19 reviews)

  • Some upper management could use some replacement (in 15 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

299 Employee Reviews

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  1. Helpful (8)

    Watch Your Back

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Vice President in Silver Spring, MD
    Former Employee - Vice President in Silver Spring, MD

    I worked at Discovery Communications

    Doesn't Recommend
    Disapproves of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    Resume value. Having some time at DCI still has value. Sad thing is that the alumni are what made the company great. Once you leave Discovery, you will definitely be more savvy in corporate politics and backstabbing, others taking credit for your work, and dealing with an unstable environment where you don't know if your group will be around next month. They do have stock grants, but with the cuts last year, those long time staff were cut just prior to their shares vesting. So you have to take your chances there. They offer metro and bike subsidies and have some decent benefits, but they continue to get cut as well.

    Cons

    Transitioning to a 'lean and efficient' culture, i.e. no job security. Executive management has brought in other management from a multitude of other companies and they have diluted the company culture to where it is unrecognizable. Their programming reflects becoming a corporate environment and lacks any originality. The great original docs you see are usually coproductions with other vendors such as the BBC or they commission outside creatives to produce. It says something when "Puppy Bowl" on Animal Planet is one of their highest rated shows of the year. There are now so many new executives that the management structure is hopelessly confused. They are in the process of contracting and have let go hundreds of long time staff. This was primarily a cost cutting move prior to go public and reflects the lack of value for the professional who have passionately built the company. Discovery Communications has sadly turned into a real life Dilbert strip, complete with pointy haired, clueless management.

    Advice to Management

    Try to restore the corporate culture that made Discovery great. Promote from within instead of hiring mercenaries who have no idea what Discovery is about. You let go hundreds of long time staff. This was primarily a cost cutting move prior to go public and reflects the lack of value for the professional who have passionately built the company. Yet the CEO was compensated $19million for these cuts. The company isn't much better off than it was under previous management. Stop reshuffling the deck chairs on the Titanic. Care about staff contributions. For too long the top executives take WAY too much credit for the success of the company.


  2. Helpful (4)

    Discovery - low brow entertainment provided by inept management.

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Associate Producer in Miami, FL
    Former Employee - Associate Producer in Miami, FL

    I worked at Discovery Communications

    Doesn't Recommend
    Disapproves of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    Looks good on a resume and helps open doors elsewhere, at far better managed companies. Great for starting conversations...."you work for Discovery Channel...oh, I love that channel...blah, blah, blah....". Looks very cool on the surface.

    Cons

    The fact that the only good things I can say about Discovery are the things I said in "What are the best reasons to work for..." Otherwise, Discovery is atrociously bad at hiring upper management. Every announcement about increased profits is invariably be followed by lay-offs. If you have a true and sincere passion for documentary and educational television, then Discovery is not the place, as it provides neither. I can go on and on and on....

    Advice to Management

    Wake up to the fact that your employees are valuable and are what make the company run. Try taking a chance on true, pioneering programming, instead just looking for the next big hit and copying it.


  3. Helpful (1)

    I wouldn't advise any of my friends to work there.

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Project Coordinator in Silver Spring, MD
    Current Employee - Project Coordinator in Silver Spring, MD

    I have been working at Discovery Communications

    Doesn't Recommend
    Disapproves of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    The benefits including the 401K there are good.

    Cons

    Cronyism there is horrendous and blatant. Working your butt off under the ever present cloud threatening layoff is worse than not working at all. No room for advancement whatsoever unless you are under someone's umbrella and they too maybe shafted at any given time.

    Advice to Management

    stop giving so much money to the ceo while cutting people. that 19 million dollars that was written about in the washington post two years ago could have paid the people he laid off that year. stop allowing cronyism to flourish.


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  5. Helpful (2)

    Discovery Communications was once great before Zaslav.

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Producer in Silver Spring, MD
    Former Employee - Producer in Silver Spring, MD

    I worked at Discovery Communications

    Doesn't Recommend
    Disapproves of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    Brand recognition is top here. Most people in the US and many around the world know the name and shows.

    Cons

    Since the new CEO arrived, the company has been a miserable place to work. Heads of departments and networks have come and go with no attention to the long term. While senior management makes tons of $$$, lower level employees of many years get the short end of the stick. As Zaslav (a former NBC employee) gets millions by redeeming his options, the company pursues many careless layoffs.

    Advice to Management

    Management is too timid to change under the arrogant senior management. The shareholders must change the company and bring the company back to a better place.


  6. Helpful (4)

    Not a place to grow

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Associate Producer in Miami, FL
    Former Employee - Associate Producer in Miami, FL

    I worked at Discovery Communications

    Doesn't Recommend
    No opinion of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    - good content - global company - well known

    Cons

    - Lack of communication - Irrespectful treatment from senior management - Lack of interest of senior manager in potential of team/employees and their work

    Advice to Management

    Communicate Communicate Commnunicate and respect.


  7. Helpful (1)

    Miserable experience with declining management

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Producer in Silver Spring, MD
    Current Employee - Producer in Silver Spring, MD

    I have been working at Discovery Communications full-time (More than 5 years)

    Doesn't Recommend
    Disapproves of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    Shows are good every now and then, but its been more misses than hits due to short term planning and profit driven decision making.

    Cons

    Senior management is all about money and inept when it comes to media production. Constant shifts in decision making like what's occurring with OWN. Management is clueless about non-fiction media.

    Advice to Management

    Board of Directors may be better off replacing Zaslav and his minions. This guy came from NBC... now a last place network.


  8. Helpful (2)

    Suck up or move on

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Project Manager in Chicago, IL
    Current Employee - Project Manager in Chicago, IL

    I have been working at Discovery Communications full-time (More than a year)

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    Great benefits and facilities. which you can get at most decent companies.

    Cons

    I work for their education sector, and the only way to really move up is if you kiss some serious butt and are liked outside of work by upper management. People are in high positions with zero ability to do their job and rely on others to do it for them, but because they are friends with upper management they get promoted and taken care of.

    Advice to Management

    Promote from within where people understand your business, dont hire from outside where people have no experience in the industry and make more clean up work for others because they cant do their job right the first time.


  9. Helpful (1)

    In some ways, the worst position I've ever held

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I worked at Discovery Communications full-time (More than 3 years)

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    I was worried every day that someone might find me promotable.

    Cons

    Primadonna attitudes abound at this, "better than you," employer. Don't bother sharing fresh ideas or think outside the box, you are sure to be shunned for it. It's everyone for himself here, although they pride themselves on their non-existant teamwork. Don't expect anyone to," have your back." You're on your own...

    Advice to Management

    As if...


  10. Helpful (5)

    Don't Work for the Discovery Education Division

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Silver Spring, MD
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Silver Spring, MD

    I have been working at Discovery Communications full-time

    Doesn't Recommend
    Positive Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Positive Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    Some very smart and talented people. Globally recognized brand. Diverse portfolio content. Cutting edge of the digital transformation in education.

    Cons

    Just to be crystal clear and concise, here are my cons as a top, award winning performer at Discovery Education. There is no work/life balance. You will not move up no matter how well you perform. Your compensation will be far less than any other company. You will be promised everything and they will not deliver on any promise. Even if you apply for a position in the company, they will not consider you. They won't even return an email or phone call. HR is non-existent. They refuse to speak with you, return a call or email. They do a reorg every single year and it's seen as a great thing by those at the top because they've lost all touch with the actual workers. Very poor organizational structure that is extremely top heavy with VPs. The VPs that are brought on-board, 99% of the time come from outside the company, hired to secure a contract with a particular school district or a family friend of the senior leadership. A common con at Discovery is cronyism and it's not even disguised on the education side. There is no career path. They are very blatant about this fact, almost prideful. Their form of career path is, do something great and great things happen. Then they hire a family friend or someone from the outside. Merit has no place on the education side. The extremely few that get promoted are not promoted based on performance. In fact, they may be one of the poorest performers, yet advance because of cronyism. Those that actually perform, close multi-millions in deals, are consistently overlooked and under-appreciated. Discovery Education has one of the worst compensation packages in the industry, yet they expect you to work more days and spend more time on the road then any industry. You will be expected to spend at a bare minimum 100 days on the road. Some spend 150+.

    Advice to Management

    You have some talented people, but they will leave unless you lessen the work load. I had high hopes for this company, but I can no longer justify the extreme travel for little pay and zero recognition. So, I'm taking your advice to "Make your own career path". I'm leaving.


  11. Helpful (2)

    Looks Great From the Outside, but Miserable on the Inside

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Silver Spring, MD
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Silver Spring, MD

    I have been working at Discovery Communications full-time

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook

    Pros

    Good benefits, doctor's office inside the building.

    Cons

    Discovery looks like a great place to work from the outside, but once you're in it's quite evident that it's a grind and bureaucracy runs rampant. Expect to be on call 24/7. Like meetings? Then you'll love Discovery, as that's all everyone does all day. Work/life balance depends on which department you're in, as some enjoy working from home and summer Fridays while others don't. I've never worked for a company where morale was so low and so many people were miserable.

    Advice to Management

    Trim the fat from the many layers of management that exists, practice what you preach when it comes to work/life balance, and cut back on meetings so employees can actually accomplish something in the confines of the regular work week.



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