David Frank (media executive)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
David Frank
David Drank.jpg
Frank in 2014
Born (1958-09-24) 24 September 1958 (age 60)
EducationTrinity College, Oxford
OccupationCEO Dial Square 86
Spouse(s)Isabelle Frank
ChildrenOliver, Missie and Bart

David Frank (born 24 September 1958) is the CEO of Dial Square 86 and the chairman of The RightsXchange, which is an online marketplace for TV rights.[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).[2] He is also Chairman (and a shareholder) of Mint Digital, a digital product development studio in London and New York,[3] and Objekt Films, a London-based film and video content creation company.[4] 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.[5] Frank is married to Isabelle (née Tuquet de Beauregard) Frank. They have three children: Oliver (b. 1985), Missie (b. 1987), and Bart (b. 1990) and live in London.


Prior to running one of the world's biggest TV production companies[6] Frank spent five years working in investment banking in London, first with Hill Samuel and latterly with Swiss Bank Corporation.[7] 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.[8]

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.[9][10] His brother, Matthew Frank, joined RDF in 1994 to establish the company's distribution arm.[11] 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.[12]

In 2002, Frank turned down the opportunity to become the Chief Executive at Channel Five (UK).[13][14]

By 2005, revenues exceeded £40m and the company was floated on the London Stock Exchange (AIM) with a valuation of £49m.[15]

In 2006, RDF won its third 'Best Independent Production Company' award at the annual Broadcast Awards, adding to wins in 2002 and 2004. It was the first and, as of 2016, the only company to have won the award three times.[16][17][18]

Queengate Affair[edit]

In July 2007, RDF became embroiled in a controversy concerning a documentary series the company was making about the Queen.[19] 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.[20]

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).[21][22]

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.[23][24][25][26]

Zodiak Media[edit]

The acquisition of RDF Media, in 2010, created a £500m "super-indie" global production giant, Zodiak Media.[27][28] 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.[29] 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.[30]

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.[31]

Frank informed majority owner De Agostini several months prior to his departure of his intent to leave Zodiak at the end of 2013.[32]

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.[33]

Dial Square 86 and TRX[edit]

Frank is the CEO of Dial Square 86, which he founded after leaving Zodiak Media. The company launched in 2014.[34][35][36][37]

In June 2015, Frank announced the creation of The RightsXchange (TRX),[38] an online marketplace for TV rights.[39][40] David Frank remains CEO of Dial Square 86, the parent company of the new venture, and is also chairman of TRX.[41]

In August 2016, TRX announced that it had received co-investment from Sky and Channel 4,[42][43][44] marking the first time that the two companies had jointly invested in a start up.[45][46]


  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. ^ "About: Objekt Films". Retrieved 2015-06-23. David Frank goes back to roots with son to create Objekt Films
  5. ^ Curtis, Chris (2010-09-22). "David Frank, Zodiak Media Group". Broadcast.
  6. ^ Roxborough, Scott (2013-09-23). "Marc-Antoine d'Halluin Replaces David Frank as Zodiak Media CEO".
  7. ^ Curtis, Chris (2010-09-22). "David Frank, Zodiak Media Group". Broadcast.
  8. ^ "57. David Frank". The Guardian. 2007-07-09.
  9. ^ "INDIE FINANCE - Building RDF into a TV money-spinner". Broadcast. 2001-05-18.
  10. ^ "Zodiak gets Frank with RDF acquisition". C21 Media. 2010-06-02.
  11. ^ Kemp, Stuart (2014-01-10). "Zodiak Rights Hires Steve Macallister as CEO". The Hollywood Reporter.
  12. ^ "INDIE FINANCE - Building RDF into a TV money-spinner". Broadcast. 2001-05-18.
  13. ^ Deans, Jason (2002-12-16). "RDF head shortlisted for C5 top job". The Guardian.
  14. ^ "Frank pulls out of Five chief race". Broadcast. 2002-12-19.
  15. ^ "57. David Frank". The Guardian. 2007-07-09.
  16. ^ http://www.investegate.co.uk/articlePrint.aspx?id=200512011428499951U
  17. ^ "Broadcast Awards 2002". Broadcast. 2002-02-06.
  18. ^ "Broadcast Awards winners 2004". Broadcast. 2004-02-13.
  19. ^ "RDF results hit by Crowngate". Broadcast. 2007-10-31.
  20. ^ "RDF to miss targets as suspension hits home". Broadcast. 2007-10-31.
  21. ^ Bulkley, Kate (2009-02-18). "RDF steels itself with £2m in cost savings". Broadcast.
  22. ^ Loveday, Samantha (2009-02-05). "RDF MBO closes". Licensing.
  23. ^ Sweney, Mark (2010-06-02). "RDF Media sold to Zodiak Entertainment". The Guardian.
  24. ^ Rushton, Katherine (2010-06-02). "Zodiak closes RDF deal". Broadcast.
  25. ^ Rushton, Katherine (2010-06-03). "Zodiak deal transforms RDF". Broadcast.
  26. ^ Loveday, Samantha (2010-09-22). "RDF rebrands as Zodiak Media Group". Licensing.
  27. ^ Rushton, Katherine (2010-06-02). "Zodiak closes RDF deal". Broadcast.
  28. ^ "Zodiak gets Frank with RDF acquisition". C21 Media. 2010-06-02.
  29. ^ Bulkey, Kate (2012-02-17). "Signs of Zodiak's next move". Broadcast. Retrieved 7 December 2012.
  30. ^ Keslassy, Elsa. "New Zodiak chief overseas expansion". Variety. Retrieved 4 February 2012.
  31. ^ Keslassy, Elsa. "New Zodiak chief overseas expansion". Variety. Retrieved 4 February 2012.
  32. ^ Walsh, Barry (2013-09-23). "David Frank leaving Zodiak, successor appointed". Kidscreen.
  33. ^ "INTERVIEW - Facts and figures". Broadcast. 1999-09-08. 'don't take things too seriously,' Durkin says.
  34. ^ Smith, Oliver (2014-10-13). "Veteran TV boss David Frank raises £30m to fund takeovers". City AM. Retrieved 2014-10-24.
  35. ^ White, Peter (2014-10-09). "Dial Square 86 buys talent agency in first deal". Broadcastnow.co.uk. Retrieved 2014-10-24.
  36. ^ Krewen, Nick (2014-10-09). "Dial Square 86 names CFO, acquires Red Hare Digital". Realscreen. Retrieved 2014-10-24.
  37. ^ Dams, Tim (2014-11-18). "David Frank turns up the Dial". Televisual. Retrieved 2014-11-24.
  38. ^ "The RightsXchange". The RightsXchange. Retrieved 19 June 2015.
  39. ^ "David Frank's Dial Square launching virtual market". Retrieved 2015-06-19. Dial Square 86, the media investment company run by David and Matthew Frank, is launching a digital platform that will allow distributors and buyers to work together within a new ‘virtual market’.
  40. ^ "Dial Square 86 preps online content marketplace". Retrieved 2015-06-19. Dial Square 86, the latest business venture from former Zodiak Media Group executives David and Matthew Frank, is unveiling its RightsXchange (TRX) platform.
  41. ^ "Our Team". Dial Square 86. Retrieved 19 June 2015.
  42. ^ "Sky and Channel 4 make joint investment to sell more British TV abroad". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 2016-08-16. Sky and Channel 4 have made a joint investment in a new online service that aims to make it easier for television producers to sell their programmes to foreign broadcasters.
  43. ^ "Channel 4, Sky Invest in TV Rights Trading Platform TRX". Variety. Retrieved 2016-08-16.
  44. ^ "Channel 4 and Sky invest in startup selling British TV content overseas". City A.M. Retrieved 2016-08-16.
  45. ^ "Sky and Channel 4 make joint investment to sell more British TV abroad". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 2016-08-16. TRX is the first joint investment by Sky and Channel 4.
  46. ^ "Sky, Channel 4 Buy Stakes in TV Rights Online Platform". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 2016-08-16. The deal marks the first time Sky and Channel 4 have co-invested in a startup.