Cohan is behind the booming success of A+E Networks’ international division. In the past year, deals locked in full ownership of operations in Southeast Asia and Italy, the company’s first channels in France and Russia, and the debut of Lifetime and H2 in Europe, Asia and the Americas. The portfolio and business has tripled in size—and Cohan is pushing for even more growth. His best business advice? Two parts: “First, to retain almost ‘maniacal’ focus on always doing the best thing near and long-term for ‘the business.’ And two, taking calculated and creative risks is everything in our business; there is no place for fear.”
What’s your biggest professional accomplishment in the past 12 months?
The continued international expansion of A+E Networks – from History’s launch in virtually all markets where local laws allow to the sale of our first A+E Studio scripted series, Unreal (Lifetime in U.S.), in over 100 countries – is a continued source of pride. This success has been driven by an excellent team to which we have added some key international leaders—across London, Johannesburg, Mumbai, Singapore, LA and NY—during the past 12 months. We are confident that the combined team will take the effort to new heights.
Best business advice you’ve received?
The best business advice I’ve received is two-fold: First, to retain almost “maniacal” focus on always doing the best thing near and long-term for “the business.” And two, taking calculated and creative risks is everything in our business; there is no place for fear. Most of the rest of everything will take care of itself.
What’s been the biggest story in cable this year?
The rapid transition of the business from TV-centric to over the top video storytelling – across multiple screens and platforms – is the biggest story in cable this year. This is evolving across US and the 200 international markets we operate in very differently. We welcome the potential to experiment creatively and leverage learnings across and between markets.
How can cable better support diversity?
I think it’s up to each of us as execs and companies leading to look for inventive ways to truly improve this industry’s diversity. One of the main opportunities I’d focus on is getting more strong people (with diverse backgrounds) in the cable “pipeline.”
Partnering with and supporting programs like The Opportunity Network (OppNet) to develop and identify talent is one way to get there. NYC-based OppNet is an intensive, six-year program designed to equal the playing field for high-achieving, underserved high school and college students by creating access for them to career opportunities, professional networks and competitive colleges.