Ex-BBC boss resurfaces at new production fund

Former BBC director of television Danny Cohen has a new job – leading a new multimillion dollar, global television and film fund.

Danny CohenCohen has been named president of Access Entertainment, which will operate as a new unit of Access Industries.

Access is British-based music and entertainment mogul Len Blavatnik’s investment vehicle. Blavatnik plans to turn Access Entertainment into “one of the world’s leading independent investors in the entertainment media sector”.

Cohen left the BBC last year after nearly a decade with the UK’s public broadcaster, during which time he had become the country’s most important programming executive.

He will establish Access as an entertainment sector investor, concentrating on “high-quality television, films and theatrical productions”. One facet will see him working closely with Blavatnik’s Warner Music Group to create creative and commercial opportunities for the audiovisual sectors.

Access has the overarching goal to become “one of the world’s leading independent investors in the entertainment media sector, with plans to invest several hundred million dollars in the initial phase”.

“Our ambition is to work with the world’s most talented creatives in environments that allow them to do their best work,” said Cohen. “Our investments will be wide-ranging: companies, people, television series, movies, theatrical productions and innovative digital opportunities. We will earn a reputation for quality, innovation and commitment to great talent.”

“I look forward to working closely with Danny,” said Blavatnik, founder and chairman of Access Industries. “Danny’s extensive experience and network will be invaluable as we identify and develop new media and entertainment investment opportunities.”

The appointment is doubly significant in that it comes on the same day a White Paper outlining the future of the BBC was published.

Cohen had left the UK pubcaster during a period of intense debate over its future, and was subsequently followed out of the door by various top level executives including Alan Yentob and Peter Salmon.

Before the BBC, Cohen worked at Channel 4 as head of E4 and head of documentaries for the broadcast channel.