David Frank (media executive)

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David Frank, media executive.
David Frank
Born (1958-09-24) 24 September 1958 (age 56)
Nakuru, Kenya
Nationality British
Education Trinity College, Oxford
Occupation CEO Dial Square 86
Spouse(s) Isabelle Frank
Children Oliver, Missie and Bartholomew

David Frank (born September 24, 1958) is the CEO of Dial Square 86, a next-generation media group, which specialises in creating, financing and exploiting audio-visual content for media platforms worldwide.[1] He is the founder of RDF Media (which created international TV hits Faking it, Wife Swap and The Secret Millionaire) and former CEO of Zodiak Media SA (the super-indie whose portfolio of hits include The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Totally Spies! and The Inbetweeners), where he remains a Non-Executive Director.[2] He is also Chairman (and a shareholder) of Mint Digital, a digital product development studio in London and New York.[3] Frank is a lifelong Arsenal fan.

Personal life and education[edit]

Frank was born in Nakuru, Kenya, the son of Joy (née Sollis) and Peter Frank. He was educated at Trinity College, Oxford, where he graduated with a BA in Jurisprudence.[4] Frank is married to Isabelle (née Tuquet de Beauregard) Frank. They have three children: Oliver (b. 1985), Missie (b. 1987), and Bartholomew (b. 1990) and live in London.


Prior to running "one of the world's biggest TV production companies"[5] Frank spent five years working in investment banking in London, first with Hill Samuel and latterly with Swiss Bank Corporation.[6] Following his time in finance he decided to pursue a career in journalism, first in newspapers - Euromoney - and subsequently working for the BBC as a television reporter specialising in business and finance.[7]

RDF Media[edit]

After three years at the BBC, he left to set up his own independent production company, RDF Media, in 1993 with £35,000 start-up capital.[8][9] His brother, Matthew Frank, joined RDF in 1994 to establish the company's distribution arm.[10] Originally the company focused on the production of factual programmes but rapidly expanded into other genres such as entertainment, drama and children’s, establishing itself as a leading force in TV production in the UK.

Within 10 years RDF was turning over around £32m a year. In 2000 the company established a successful presence in the US.[11]

In 2002, Frank turned down the opportunity to become the Chief Executive at Channel Five (UK).[12][13]

By 2005, revenues exceeded £40m and the company was floated on the London Stock Exchange (AIM) with a valuation of £49m.[14]

Queengate Affair[edit]

In July 2007, RDF became embroiled in a controversy concerning a documentary series the company was making about the Queen.[15] The incident, which became known as Queengate, centred on manipulation of footage in a promotional tape for the series which was shown to journalists at a BBC One press event purporting to show the Queen storming out of a photoshoot with Annie Liebowitz. The affair led to the resignations of RDF Director of Programmes Stephen Lambert and BBC One Controller Peter Fincham.[16]

Management Buy-Out[edit]

The controversy resulted in a sharp fall in the RDF share price on AIM. In 2009, with revenues now of approximately £150m and in response to the fall in the share price, Frank led a management buy-out of the company’s shares supported by Dutch private equity firm Dasym Investment Strategies (formerly Cyrte Investments).[17][18]

In July 2010, RDF Media was sold to Zodiak Entertainment, for a reported £150m, and Frank was appointed the CEO of the enlarged group, now renamed Zodiak Media.[19][20][21][22]

Zodiak Media[edit]

The acquisition of RDF Media, in 2010, created a £500m "super-indie" global production giant, Zodiak Media.[23][24] Zodiak Media is an independent media company that produces entertainment, factual, drama and kids' programming, with 45 companies operating in 17 countries and $800 million in annual revenues.[25] It is headquartered in Paris and with other key offices in London, Los Angeles, Milan, Stockholm and Moscow. It is majority-owned by Italian conglomerate De Agostini and operates across the world.[26]

Following his appointment as CEO in July 2010, Frank rebranded Zodiak Entertainment as Zodiak Media and organised the group along geographical divisions to replace the acquired group brands (Marathon Media Group, Magnolia, Zodiak Entertainment and RDF Media). He launched a “creativity and innovation unit” at the centre of the group to look for shows and formats with the best chance of becoming international hits. In 2011 Zodiak acquired UK comedy producer Bwark Productions (makers of hit TV series and movie The Inbetweeners). Under Frank, the group also made its first scripted series for a US broadcaster (Being Human for SyFy Channel). Frank also oversaw a $267m refinancing of the group’s debt through a deal with a syndicate of international banks.[27]

Frank informed majority owner De Agostini several months prior to his departure of his intent to leave Zodiak at the end of 2013.[28]

During his two decades in TV, Frank gained a reputation as an executive who, although driven by business, was capable of creating a very enjoyable working environment.[29]

Dial Square 86[edit]

Frank is the CEO of Dial Square 86, which he founded in 2014 after leaving Zodiak Media. Launching the company in October 2014 with the announcement of the acquisition of Red Hare Digital - a talent management agency focussing on YouTube fashion and beauty bloggers - Frank announced Dial Square 86 would be making further acquisitions focussing on companies that create or exploit audio-visual content for media platforms across the world with the aim of creating a next generation content group. [30][31][32] [33]


  1. ^ "Our Tenants : Somerset House". Retrieved 2014-04-24. Dial Square 86 is a company specialising in creating, financing and exploiting audio-visual content for media platforms worldwide. Run by David Frank (former CEO of Zodiak Media Group, one of the largest television production companies with the world with annual sales of c£500m). 
  2. ^ Curtis, Chris (2013-09-26). "Frank has digital ambitions". Broadcast. 
  3. ^ Parker, Robin (2008-01-09). "Supernanny's Lee joins Mint". Broadcast. RDF chief executive David Frank is Mint's chairman. 
  4. ^ Curtis, Chris (2010-09-22). "David Frank, Zodiak Media Group". Broadcast. 
  5. ^ Roxborough, Scott (2013-09-23). "Marc-Antoine d’Halluin Replaces David Frank as Zodiak Media CEO". 
  6. ^ Curtis, Chris (2010-09-22). "David Frank, Zodiak Media Group". Broadcast. 
  7. ^ "57. David Frank". The Guardian. 2007-07-09. 
  8. ^ "INDIE FINANCE - Building RDF into a TV money-spinner". Broadcast. 2001-05-18. 
  9. ^ "Zodiak gets Frank with RDF acquisition". C21 Media. 2010-06-02. 
  10. ^ Kemp, Stuart (2014-01-10). "Zodiak Rights Hires Steve Macallister as CEO". The Hollywood Reporter. 
  11. ^ "INDIE FINANCE - Building RDF into a TV money-spinner". Broadcast. 2001-05-18. 
  12. ^ Deans, Jason (2002-12-16). "RDF head shortlisted for C5 top job". The Guardian. 
  13. ^ "Frank pulls out of Five chief race". Broadcast. 2002-12-19. 
  14. ^ "57. David Frank". The Guardian. 2007-07-09. 
  15. ^ "RDF results hit by Crowngate". Broadcast. 2007-10-31. 
  16. ^ "RDF to miss targets as suspension hits home". Broadcast. 2007-10-31. 
  17. ^ Bulkley, Kate (2009-02-18). "RDF steels itself with £2m in cost savings". Broadcast. 
  18. ^ Loveday, Samantha (2009-02-05). "RDF MBO closes". Licensing. 
  19. ^ Sweney, Mark (2010-06-02). "RDF Media sold to Zodiak Entertainment". The Guardian. 
  20. ^ Rushton, Katherine (2010-06-02). "Zodiak closes RDF deal". Broadcast. 
  21. ^ Rushton, Katherine (2010-06-03). "Zodiak deal transforms RDF". Broadcast. 
  22. ^ Loveday, Samantha (2010-09-22). "RDF rebrands as Zodiak Media Group". Licensing. 
  23. ^ Rushton, Katherine (2010-06-02). "Zodiak closes RDF deal". Broadcast. 
  24. ^ "Zodiak gets Frank with RDF acquisition". C21 Media. 2010-06-02. 
  25. ^ Bulkey, Kate (2012-02-17). "Signs of Zodiak's next move". Broadcast. Retrieved 7 December 2012. 
  26. ^ Keslassy, Elsa. "New Zodiak chief overseas expansion". Variety. Retrieved 4 February 2012. 
  27. ^ Keslassy, Elsa. "New Zodiak chief overseas expansion". Variety. Retrieved 4 February 2012. 
  28. ^ Walsh, Barry (2013-09-23). "David Frank leaving Zodiak, successor appointed". Kidscreen. 
  29. ^ "INTERVIEW - Facts and figures". Broadcast. 1999-09-08. 'don't take things too seriously,' Durkin says. 
  30. ^ Smith, Oliver (2014-10-13). "Veteran TV boss David Frank raises £30m to fund takeovers". City AM. Retrieved 2014-10-24. 
  31. ^ White, Peter (2014-10-09). "Dial Square 86 buys talent agency in first deal". Broadcastnow.co.uk. Retrieved 2014-10-24. 
  32. ^ Krewen, Nick (2014-10-09). "Dial Square 86 names CFO, acquires Red Hare Digital". Realscreen. Retrieved 2014-10-24. 
  33. ^ Dams, Tim (2014-11-18). "David Frank turns up the Dial.". Televisual. Retrieved 2014-11-24.