Tuesday, 20 January 2009

Return of the Jedi

Interesting goings on at Motivate - magazines closing down (Society Dubai, any others?) and former Motivator, Jason Leavy, back from UK to take up a new position as Publishing Director. Leavy used to edit What's On, before leaving to set up Society Dubai (which was sold to Society Dubai after Leavy moved to ITP as group editor of Ahlan - you following?)

anyone got the lowdown?

46 comments:

Anonymous said...

More importantly, anyone got the lowdown regarding the new "media activities" law just passed in the UAE? Apparently a backward step which will take the country back to the 1980's. You heard it here first.

Anonymous said...

i do feel sorry for Jason. he couldnt have come at a worse time. he is first rate and i do know for a fact that Future think very highly of him. i'm not sure if he is going to get the chance to succeed here though. my guess is he will be back in Bath within the year.

Anonymous said...

Almost as bad as the goings at the Meeja Factory, loads got made redundant yesterday, and apparently the place is in total chaos. Hardly surprising when the ship is being guided by that nasty botoxed stick insect of an MD, and her crowd of hunchbacked clueless sidekicks

Anonymous said...

Weak is the Force in this thread young Skyblogger.

Anonymous said...

Does anyone have any actual detail on Media Factory?

Anonymous said...

Or ENG for that matter. Heard that they are in chaos as well - with recent joiners flooding the larket with their CVs.

What's the sketch?

Anonymous said...

I wonder when Fairservice signed Leavy up. I have it on fairly decent authority (ie not 100% reliable, but from within Motivate) that he's on Dhs42,000/month + profitshare. Not the most thrifty hire at a time when the company is having lay off editorial staff on Dhs10,00 and Dhs14,000

Anonymous said...

Interesting. So Jason Leavy left Motivate to set up Society Dubai. It failed and was 'sold' to Motivate. He then goes to Motivate and closes down Society Dubai.
He used to be Deputy Editor on What's On...so is that next to be canned?
Actually, just noticed Emirates Toady was one of his, and that was canned as well.
His staff must be wondering what he'll ditch next! He didn't launch Campaign did he - I quite like that!

Anonymous said...

42 grand? that will please the staff that have been laid off. That could have paid for 3 of them.

Anonymous said...

42,000 Dirhams? Jesus, he can afford to live in a junior suite at the Atlantis overnight for that amount! Lucky bastard!

Anonymous said...

Given Jason's track record, there must be a 'How many editors does it take to close down one magazine?' gag in there somewhere...

Anonymous said...

Well, whoever he is, he couldn't have come at a better time. More business closures and lay-offs as people slowly begin to realise the Dubai dream is well and truly over.

Anonymous said...

@13.06

You mean the dream that Arab countries would engage with the West and take a moderate view while encouraging calm and propserity by embracing free market capitalism.

Yeah, thank God that's over.

Anonymous said...

Don't blame new recruits at ENG flooding the market with their CVs, have heard reports of staff being paid 2 weeks salary every 60 days. Also freelancers not being paid at all.
Serious cash flow problems i'd say. Get out while you can!

Anonymous said...

I had heard freelancers for ENG haven't been paid either.

Anonymous said...

Heard that ex-ITP people are already leaving The National - are they experiencing staffing problems as well?

Anonymous said...

I heard Media Weak is about tobe shut down. Levy can't take the credit for that one, mind.

Anonymous said...

They aren't the only ones - two of my regular freelancers haven't been paid for so long they are refusing to work for us any more...and only today my Division Editorial Director told me he was slashing my freelance budget by 70%. When my section editor left, I was promised a replacement and told to use freelancers to cover the position in the interim. That hasn't happened either.
Oh, and we're the biggest publishing house in the region. Not looking good.

Anonymous said...

Isn't ENG the same company as Emirates Neon? If so, don't they own all the billboards around Dubai and have a turnover that dwarfs ITP's? I doubt they are in trouble.

Anonymous said...

"42grand + % of profits" I bet Levy wished he'd gone for the extra cash rather than a % share now!
Mind you, as long as he's on a tight contract, I'd gues he's relatively safe. How silly would Fairservice look to have hired and then let him go within a month - as I'm sure the temptation must now be!

Anonymous said...

anon @ 20.18 - just because ENG owns all the billboards etc etc, doesn't mean it will bail out a load of magazines if they are losing money.

Not sure if the mags are, I'm just saying.

Perhaps it's time for an update on which companies are paying freelancers at the moment and which aren't?

Anonymous said...

ENG are struggling to pay anyone at present. Freelancers have been chasing money for months and their staff are getting paid very haphazardly, if at all. Two weeks' salary every 60 days isn't far off the mark apparently. And to think I almost moved there. But what is the alternative?

Also, why would the billboard arm of ENG bail out the magazines? Could this be the end before it's really even started?

Be interested to hear if anyone has any horse's mouth info...

Anonymous said...

@20:15, Why contribute anonymously and then give yourself away to your superior by quoting him/her on a very specific issue?

I'm not surprised arabianbusiness.com looks like a GCSE ICT runner-up with such talent.

Anonymous said...

Big, big unrest at The National. I know we have a relatively healthy number of staff, and yes we have the backing of some very wealthy men, but the vibe around here isn't very good. Everyone around me is looking over their shoulder. I'm not privy to information at all (I'm a mere reporter) and I can't tell you anything for certain, but there is a feeling of impending doom around here. I suppose we wouldn't be the only ones to face cutbacks. But I'd be surprised if a few senior people, and quite a few others, are still here at the beginning of Feb. Horrible feeling.

Anonymous said...

RE: The Media Factory - I have just received four CVs in one day. Have to say, looking at those who have applied, TMF recruitment policy seems to be to hire inexperienced graduates - these are hardly people with proven track records. Perhaps the 15 to go were all junior staff.

Anonymous said...

What do the media factory actually publish. Can't say I've really heard of them.

Anonymous said...

Surely if your ad revenues are dropping, the first thing to go is the 'luxury' of freelancers. Would make perfect sense to me

Anonymous said...

Can we do a roundup of job losses and cutbacks that people actually know for a fact, rather than just rumours? Surely that's something we would all find useful.

Anonymous said...

@08.53 - actually staff tend to go first. Freelancers are fully flexible and employees don't even need to pay for electricity when they are working. A lot of staffers also really struggle to make the switch to freelancing as it is a tough world where you are in a constant open market. Good, thick-skinned freelancers are in constant demand - another redundant staffer will just have to get in the line behind them.

Enjoy!

Anonymous said...

The Media Factory - I have just seen a bunch of ads online showing they are hiring a lot of new staff for a lot of new launches. What's going on? Are they mad or doing much better than we thought? Good time to hire though - plenty of staff around!

Anonymous said...

Hahaha. So Leavy promised Adservice 'a big name franchise title contract' when negotiating his job. Now, Adservice is no fool, but he was hoodwinked over this one - or just 'never saw it coming'?

Anonymous said...

Good time to hire locally, certainly. But having closed two titles and let go 15 staff, I'd find it hard to believe that they are in fact expanding. Still, putting out job ads is a good way to assure staff. I guess we'll see if any actual recruitment materialises

Anonymous said...

anon @ 23.11 - any idea what big ticket franchise title it was?

Anonymous said...

Key magazine titles published by Future Publishing include:
Classic Rock
Computer Arts
Cross Stitcher
Digital Camera
digitalFOTO Magazine
DVD and Blu-ray Review magazine
Edge
Fast Car
Fast Bikes Magazine
GamesMaster
Guitar Techniques
Guitarist
Guitar World
ImagineFX
Linux Format
MacFormat
Metal Hammer
Mountain Biking UK
.net
NGamer
PaperCraft Inspirations
PC Answers
PC Format
PC Gamer (UK and US editions)
PC Plus
PC Zone
Rhythm
Scrapbook Inspirations
SFX
Simply Knitting
T3
Total Film*
Total Guitar
What Satellite and Digital TV
Xbox World
You Can Craft
Your Family Tree

Anonymous said...

Got to be Simply Knitting. Have you seen Adservice's beardy recently - it looks like you'd get a few woolly jumpers out of that!
As for the others: Total Film, Total Guitar...Total Screw-Up coming soon?

Anonymous said...

Apologies for joining this thread late, but i find it shocking that so many good people are being laid off while people like jason leavy, with an (albeit high profile) bad track record of failure are being hired on old school dubai wages. can anyone explain what the business proposition is here?

Anonymous said...

jason is a tosser. end of.

Anonymous said...

I worked virtually opposite Jason Leavy (same company, different department) and I can remember him being universal despised by his editorial co-staff. To be fair, he came across well at meetings, but often undelivered, then pointed the finger at his juniors. Not a very admirable quality of the little man's.

Anonymous said...

The axeman has cometh. Leavy's first job was to cut Society. He let two managers go yesterday. Who/what next?
I suppose Ad Service must be under pressure to cover Leavy's salary somehow.

Anonymous said...

full circle for Jason then, closing down the magazine he started. What happened to the two fellas he started Society Dubai with?

Anonymous said...

Didn't one go to prison for drink driving?
Can blame that one on the overpaid midget - or ITP - I guess?
(On second thoughts, this is DMO so perhaps we could...)

Anonymous said...

Are you suckers all at ITP being paid nothing? Why are the wages so low?

If you think Leavy is on Dsh45 000 you are dreaming or been here to long getting carroted by ITP. He is on Dhs65 000 MIN. Get out a bit more boys. He is a do'er. He ran Whats On. He them broke out on his own & ITP said to him join us on Ahlan as we are going to kill your mag Society.He did, they did. Ahlan was is HUGE. He then had the balls to try launch a tabliod paper with a Arabic Master who would not let him telll the real news. End off. He walked. Got his publishing ability polished in Bath & is back on 3x his Dxb wage. You see he tries things, he pushed out of his comfort zone & paid the price. He is back & better, is my guess. What do you do, other than sit back in the sun & write blindly on this site, read by all your mates at ITP almost exclusivly. Jason, go you good thing & welcome back.

Anonymous said...

Haha. Jason sent himself a Valentine's Day note!

Although actually Jase you are on Dhs42,000 + OTE of an additional Dhs20,000; so you are actually on a few dirhams over Dhs42,000/month.

Check your payslip?

Jase said...

Cheers Gav!

Anonymous said...

He's been let go!

Anonymous said...

Oh, and so has Gina Johnson!!