Dan Cohen is executive vice president, pay television and digital for Disney/ABC Home Entertainment and Television Distribution, the content distribution arm for The Walt Disney Company within the United States and Canada. Under Cohen, the pay television and digital team distributes motion picture and television properties from Disney, Walt Disney Animation Studios, Pixar Animation Studios, Disneynature, Marvel Studios, Touchstone Pictures, DreamWorks Studios, ABC Studios, ABC Entertainment, ABC Family, Disney Channel, Disney XD and Disney Junior across a wide array of media platforms and businesses including electronic home video license, video-on-demand (residential and hotel), pay television, subscription video-on-demand, mobile, broadband and other digital technologies.
With nearly 20 years at the company, Cohen spearheads DADT’s digital efforts, delivering its properties to emerging digital arenas. His team negotiates key video-on-demand deals for the studio’s films with a wide range of distributors including MVPDs (cable, satellite TV, telcos), digital (YouTube, Amazon Instant Video) and mobile platforms (Samsung, RIM). He oversees the licensing of both video-on-demand and electronic home video license rights to a spectrum of digital clients and gaming consoles including Apple’s iTunes, Microsoft’s Xbox and Sony’s PlayStation. In addition to these U.S. and Canada accounts, Cohen also supervises a team that manages international pay TV and digital licensing agreements. Under his leadership in 2008, the division successfully unveiled the studio’s subscription video-on-demand entertainment service, Disney Family Movies, which is distributed nationally by content providers including Comcast, Time Warner, Charter, Cox, AT&T U-Verse, and Verizon/FiOS. Most recently, Cohen led the negotiations with iTunes, Google and Vudu for the studio’s cloud-based digital movie service, Disney Movies Anywhere. In regards to the company’s television assets, Cohen’s team pursues and manages digital licensing opportunities for select inventory. The division presently has electronic home video license agreements in place with iTunes, PlayStation and Xbox, among others. In addition, his team has spearheaded several licensing agreements with the subscription-based service Netflix, providing select series and made-for-television movies for their members to stream over the internet. Cohen’s team has also negotiated streaming deals with Amazon Prime and Comcast StreamPix for select television programming.
Cohen’s top achievements at Disney include two of the most significant pay television deals in history -- Netflix in 2012 and Starz in 1999. Cohen was part of the executive team that negotiated a groundbreaking, multi-year licensing agreement with Netflix that will make them the exclusive U.S. subscription television service for Disney films beginning with 2016’s theatrical releases. In 2010, Cohen managed the exclusive output deal with Showtime to provide theatrical releases produced by DreamWorks Studios. He also played a pivotal role during the negotiations of the company’s landmark 1999 pay television output deal with Starz, which was re-upped in 2010. Also under Cohen’s leadership, last year the division closed a cutting-edge promotion with T-Mobile to virtually preload “Marvel’s The Avengers” on all Samsung Galaxy S III phones.
With nearly 30 years of industry experience, Cohen joined The Walt Disney Company 1997 as vice president and general manager, pay television. He was promoted to senior vice president and general manager, pay television in 2000 and was promoted to his current role in March of 2007.
Prior to joining Disney, Cohen served as vice president, program acquisitions and scheduling for Tele-TV Media. He was responsible for developing and programming fifty channels of near-video-on-demand entertainment, including pay-per-view movies, events, sports packages and time-shift television, as well as negotiating licensing agreements with content suppliers. From 1989 to 1995, Cohen served as vice president, film acquisitions and co-productions for Showtime Networks, where he evaluated, acquired and negotiated licensing agreements for all films on Showtime, The Movie Channel, Flix and The Sundance Channel. From 1993 to 1995, he was also the executive in charge of production for all international co-productions and selected domestically produced films for Showtime Original Movies. Cohen’s background also includes roles with Viewer’s Choice, Palmer Cablevision and Post-Newsweek Cable.
Cohen sits on the Digital Entertainment Group board. He is also on the Board of Overseers at Emerson College and serves as a member of the California State University Industry Advisory Council. He graduated from Portland’s Lewis and Clark College with a bachelor’s in economics and he earned his master’s in radio and television from San Francisco State University. He has also helped develop an award-winning interactive college media course at Cal State Fullerton’s Mihaylo College of Business and Economics.