Thursday, 17 June 2010

Mass staff cuts at TMF

Rumours have been swirling and here's some corroboration:
As a former staff member, I can confirm that around 16 staff from TMF have been laid off in a mass staff cut at the company.

Citing the loss of the Thai airways inflight magazine Sawasdee, low ad revenues across the company and generally poor business results, the unfortunate decision has been made by TMF management.

The company is still a going concern, and will continue through this tough period.

Even as a staff member affected by the cuts, I can confirm that these events have taken place, believe this, not any erroneous reports printed elsewhere online.

We are all disappointed, but understand the business reasoning behind the decision, though all regret the sudden nature of the news.

Our sympathies to the staff that have been laid off, and we hope you find new positions soon. Anyone who's hiring, or knows any companies that are, feel free to post about it in comments.


EDIT: I just want to clarify that we're approving all the comments we can, but unless sources are provided, we can't publish some of the allegations that have been made regarding the management of TMF. Likewise allegations about their personal lives. If you can stand them up, then feel free to post with sources or email us. Comments that we consider fair opinion or "fair comment" are however going up.

145 comments:

Anonymous said...

Is it just me, or does this sound less like an 'ex-staffer', and more like a damage control press release from the management?
None of the rest of the staff who were laid off yesterday sounded quite so understanding...

Anonymous said...

the ft group's deal reporter is hiring - as are dow jones and bloomberg

Anonymous said...

Yeah, sounds more like the split personality of Russell F. who tries to control the situation.
I doubt that TMF could afford 16 labour cases, but I desperately hope that every single person will go to court in case they don't get paid what they deserve by law...

Anonymous said...

haha for ex staffer read rotound publishing baffoon Russell Frame!!!
What a c*ck.
Why not just say its from management instead of this.

Anonymous said...

Its interesting that in a previous thread they cited the loss of the Thai Airway magazine as a major cause of their issues.
Everyone at TMF knows the Thai Airways Mag has been one of their biggest loss leaders all along.
Launched to be the successor to Oryx it has lost millions since it started and is a fantastic example of how this publisher totally fails to understand its market.
The reason why TMF is failing is because it is run by people that to put it simply dont know what they are doing.
These are after all the same poeple that believed a mall magazine would bring in huge advertising revenue, launched 442, lost Oryx with their arrogance and have appointed an accountant with no publishing experience as their MD. Anyone who is still in a job should start looking for alternative employment now, as with no profitable titles in their stable the cuts TMF have made now are only delaying the inevitable.

Anonymous said...

'only staff left are cleaners and Russell Frame'
Given the amount of sh*t this company has produced over the years i feel sorry for the cleaners.

Anonymous said...

For anyone who has just been fired by TMF.

Please note that they have no lost their last 3 unfair dismissal claims in court, and so if you are in any doubt about getting paid what you believe you are owed dont hesitate in going legal.
You should lodge you claim as soon as you can as by the sound of it the company wont have money for everyone.

Anonymous said...

@11.06

I guess people are more understanding when they see that this was the only step TMF could have possibly taken to safeguard any of the remaining staff's jobs.

It's easy to complain about a company messing over their staff on the one hand (considering it our god given right and obligation to stand up for the rights of our fellow man), yet on the other not accept as genuine a comment from one of these same fellow men, who was clearly affected by the recent changes, that he/she was understanding of his/her former employer's very difficult position.

Anonymous said...

TMF launch and post profits continuously until 2008.
In 2008 Russell Frame is appointed Director of Operations - the company suffers its first annual losses since the company bagan.
In 2009 Russell Frame becomes Deputy Managing Director - the company has laid off more than 3/4 of its staff.
Spot the trend.
For anyone thats left, you better hope Russell doesn't make it to MD or Chairman, cause then you are all surely f*cked!!!!

Anonymous said...

For those staff members that are left, ask yourself this, other than firing most of our staff what are management actually changing to protect our jobs.
Seems to me its only a matter of time before we are all shown the door and you can bet there will be no redundancy payments or notice periods.
Its just such a shame this company has been totally ruined by management incompetance on a grand scale. With so many talented people now unemployed because management simply don't understand what they are doing.
Were we really all now suppossed to be putting our faith in Russell and co to protect our jobs.
Time to dust of the CV i think.

Anonymous said...

And now, the end is near,
And so I face the final curtain.
My friends, I'll say it clear;
I'll state my case of which I'm certain.

I've lived a life that's full -
I've travelled each and every highway.
And more, much more than this,
I did it my way.

Congrats Russell you ceratinly did things your way....
Just a pity your such a f*ck wit.

Don't forget to lock upon your way out the door, there's a good lad!

Anonymous said...

Does this mean they are no longer 'Dubai's 3rd biggest publisher'?

Anonymous said...

For many of us this latest move has been inevitable.

If betting was legalised here you wouldn't get a bookie that would take your bet on TMF closing its doors for the final time before the end of the year.

Anonymous said...

what magazines does this company still publish?
How many were closed as a consequence of the recent sacking of most of the staff?
What is the company's strategy to return to profit.
because at first glance it looks like they will simply be asking the remaining staff to work twice as hard for no more pay, which will result in lowering the quality of the magazines and continue the downward spiral in revenue.
Surely a better strategy is to remove the big salaries at the top.
What have our deputy MD or the new MD contributed in the last 6 months?
Who has analysed what has gone wrong with the magazines, does anyone truly understand or do TMF simply fire people and shift the blame.
The problem with this company starts at the very top and until that changes( and there clearly isn't much time left)the company will continue to go in only one direction.

Anonymous said...

To those that have lost their jobs i say one word - TECOM

Anonymous said...

For the record TMF have lost their last 5 court cases for unfair dismissal not 3.
Also it should be noted the more claims they continue to lose the more the courts frown upon the employer and so award greater sums each time in an effort to teach the company a lesson.
Therefore if anyone is looking for a payout I would urge them to go straight to TECOM.
It would be foolish not to cash in, consider it a golden handshake from your generous ex employer.

Anonymous said...

What do TMF still publish?

I thought they closed last year when they fired everyone last time.

Anonymous said...

'The Media Factory is a top three publisher of magazines in Dubai, publishing over twenty titles. Founded in 1999, TMF has become synonymous with visionary creative and editorial excellence within the Middle East and beyond.'

will they be changing this strap line any time soon, or do they no longer have enough staff to update their website?

Anonymous said...

ha-ha
its a sh*t company, that produces sh*t magazines, run by a bunch of w*nkers, and no-one will notice when they are gone.

Its such a small insignificant company I can't believe it even has its own thread.

How about a more interesting subject.
Does anyone know of any good office space going cheap in DMC at the moment?

Anonymous said...

Does anyone really care about what is happening in the market?

ITP, Motivate, The National - all publishers are suffering and letting go of staff because of reduced advertising dollars in the market, and anticipating worse. TMF just seems to be following suit.

The company is paying me my severance and notice pay. They are also letting me stay on their visa, and I get to keep my medical insurance for a few months. Not bad considering.

I know that the company has its faults, but don't they all?

Anonymous said...

It would be foolish not to cash in...

What a load of rubbish. I took my old employer to Labour Court here, and it took me 9 months to get one penny.

If you take any company to court in UAE they will simply not pay you anything until it is over and a final ruling is made - which can take forever. And believe me, I didn't cash in - I got twice my monthly salary - in NINE months. I wanted to appeal but was told it would take another SIX months.

Don't take the advice of these idiots - they haven't got a clue what they are talking about.

Anonymous said...

Nice to see that Andrea did the firings in person though... Oh, wait, she didn't, because she was gallavanting around Italy on holiday with her husband.
Spineless.

Anonymous said...

@13:18 Hi Russell!!

Anonymous said...

I am not sure what to be more embarrassed about, the way we play football or how we run companies.

Brij Raj Singh said...

CPI Hiring....the right people :)

We are a fun loving company where you actually get to meet the management :) and discuss ideas.

Anonymous said...

Senior Thai Airways executives are furious with the directors of the Media Factory, Andrea Slater and Russell Frame, after the Dubai publisher pulled out of producing the airline's inflight magazine, Sawasdee, before the contract had expired.

Sawasdee, which recently marked its 50th anniversary, had had uninterupted monthly presence on planes for half a century. Thai Airways had enjoyed successful collaborations with other publishers until it decided to go with TMF just three years ago.

"Thai executives were ashamed about having no June issue to offer customers as usually a publisher hands over seamlessly to another publisher when contracts exchange hands," said a Bangkok insider. "TMF pulled prematurely, blaming the political unrest for halting printing. This is nonsense. TMF was simply running away from a loss-making contract and letting a client down in the process."

Even when the contract was signed three years ago, informed media observers could see the deal was a "poison chalice" for TMF. Slater and Frame were widely mocked for their inept approach to business which was described as "vanity publishing" at best.

In their desperation to win a trophy title for the TMF portfolio of other loss-making titles, they offered to cover all Sawasdee's costs, effectively paying Thai Airways vast sums to produce the magazine.

The Bangkok Post could barely conceal its disdain at such suicidal business practice when it said in 2008: "“Under a three-year contract, TMF is obliged to make 160,000 copies of Sawasdee, available each month on all THAI aircraft. Under the deal, THAI pays no money to TMF but is entitled to a stipulated annual payment from TMF in return for the publishing rights. TMF's revenue comes from advertising sales that are restricted to 30% of the total pages per issue.”

Slater, the Liverpudlian owner of TMF who married a wealthy Emerati, was lumbered with the additional costs of setting up a Bangkok office and employing Thai editorial and sales staff.

Frame, mocked as Slater's lapdog-come-henchman, managed to appoint his friend and former flatmate, Chris Stevenson, to manage the Sawasdee office in Bangkok.

Stevenson, along with seven other staff in Bangkok, have lost their jobs. Several are angry with Stevenson and TMF bosses in Dubai about the way the situation was handled. "TMF has a terrible reputation in Dubai," said one former employee. "This has now spread to Thailand too".

Anonymous said...

'it would be foolish not to cash in'....
The last 3 people that took TMF to court won an average of 75,000dhs!!
Yes the process was somewhat protracted as TMF's traditional approach to this is to stall delay and fail to attend, however the rewards can make it worth it.

Anonymous said...

Several months ago in the last round of sackings TMF let me go, and I am still to be paid my full severance pay.

Anonymous said...

Its true that ITP, Motivate and the National have all let staff go, however there is several big differences.
These other companies traditionally pay the staff the let go, TMF has a repuation of NOT paying their staff.
Also exactly what percentage of staff have these other publishing companies let go?
Its certainly nowhere near the 80% level that TMF are approaching.
Anyone who still has any faith in this company is either extremely niaive or you are in fact Russell Frame.

Anonymous said...

TMF's commercial history is littered with decisions that highlight their comercial niavity.
Insiders have always known the company was propped up by Oryx and their failure to manage that account only reinforces their arrogance or ignorance.

They can dress this up as a restructure, or collateral damage of a weak market but ultimately it all leads to an inevitable conclusion. with no profitable titles in their portfolio TMF are going out of business. Its only a matter of time, and that time appears to be running out.

Anonymous said...

Its true all media companies in Dubai have been hit hard by the recession, but few were positioned weaker than TMF to waether the storm.
Why is this?
Well you only have to look at their senior management?
Exactly who has the experience or market understanding to guide them through this?
The fact that they have gained a reputation over the last 18 months as one of the worst employers in terms of staff welfare only makes this sweeter.
If you are still there, you must surely know your time is almost up.

Anonymous said...

The biggest question or mystery surrounding TMF is Russell Frame.
Does anyone actually know what he does?
With no creative background, no financial background, no management background, the guy has literally contributed nothing, other than ballsing up a few contracts and losing staff court cases.
Its hard to feel any sympathy for a company that fires hard working staff that contribute positively on a daily basis whilst the company continues to employ this baffoon.

Anonymous said...

Russell Frame has been circulating his CV for months with no takers.

He will be the last one to leave the building because he has no where else to go, and because they need to widen the exit slightly.

Anonymous said...

With TMF in freefall I suspect their advertising page rate just halved as well.
Given they are desperate for any revenue, does anyone wish to take out a double page spread in each of their magazines advertising Tampons using a picture of Russell Frame.
They need the revenue and so will have to take the ad.
It will be his first contribution to the company since he started.

Anonymous said...

As someone now at ITP, and a former TMF staffer, there is no love lost between TMF and me. I have to say however that the personal attacks on this blog about Russell and Andrea are just stupid, and are clearly being driven by one or two people who have been fired by him in the past, more than likely legitimately.

If you could stand up and be counted, then perhaps we could all see the full picture behind your vitriol, and could consider it in context therefore making our own minds up as journalists. Hiding behind the apparent anonymity this blog provides is just cowardly, and frankly unconvincing.

Personal attacks should be avoided, especially if you are not man enough to show your face.

I have known Russell for years, and know that he at least would tell you what he didn't like to your face, as I am sure he has in the past to some of the commentators on this site...

Anonymous said...

I don't know where you heard that ITP pays its staff when they get fired. I know of at least 15 people who have been fired in the past year and are still fighting to get their money.

The TMF staff who were fired have all apparently been told what settlement they are getting, which is actually better than they would get at ITP or Motivate.

Anonymous said...

NEW THREAD PLEASE:

ENG have been forced out of their Bur Dubai home by Emar due to multiple visits by the police and court officials over previous staff's efforts to get their overdue salaries paid in addition to monies ordered by courts to previous staff still unpaid.

magazines have gone under and production ceased

anyone have any more information on this????

Anonymous said...

I agree with the anon, ex-TMF, now- ITP journalist who says some of the personal insults to Russell Frame and Andrea Slater are silly. There are enough truthful facts about their behaviour to staff and business practice to not need to resort to name-calling.

However, you could argue their character flaws are the cause of the company's dire situation - if Andrea wasn't a nasty, tacky WAG bimbo, perhaps she would have more decency, taste and ultimately success. If Russell's personality and business acumen was less unimpressive, perhaps he also wouldn't be attacked.

They are not criticised simply by a few former employees but by pretty much everyone who knows them.

Anonymous said...

Sorry, something completely irrelevant but hilarious nonetheless.

Did anyone see the royal f**kup in GN's Friday 'Weekend Review' supplement?

On p19 was a one-page feature on the novelist David Mitchell (for it is he).

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_Mitchell_%28author%29

However attached to the story was a picture of the actor David Mitchell.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_Mitchell_%28actor%29

Easy mistake to make for someone completely out of touch with popular culture.

For a magazine editor? Priceless.

Also, as a sidenote, did anyone see the terrible typo on the Notional's front page last week.

I recall it being something like 'pyscological' or thereabouts.

Embarassingly enough, it was the blurb of a column by former editor Martin Newland.

Whoops!

Anonymous said...

Good news staff losing their jobs at TMF are getting a fair settlement. This is because Richard Patton, the new, temporary, ex-KPMG, stand-in director, insists on a few London media business practices that, sadly, Andrea Slater and Russell Frame have, historically, failed to honour. Let's hope this media recession eradicates some of the cowboy excesses of some Dubai publishers so things are better in the future.

Anonymous said...

Have anyone heard rumours that EB 24-7 is on its way out?

Anonymous said...

To the ex TMF now ITP staffer.
You are clearly a big fan of Russell and Andrea holding them in high regard and wish to defend them against any injustified assualt on their character and business accumen.
I agree its time to even the score, so lets put together a list of their positive attributes or business achievements.

Here goes.

1. Russell is creative. He was the driving force behind The Brief. (no wait, doesn't that lose lots of money?)

Okay lets try again.

1. As Deputy MD Russell handles all staffing issues with diplomacy and aplomb. (No wait - he is regarded as a bully and joke by all the staff ranging from senior to even the most junior. Why is that?)

One last try.

1. Russell brings .....

Nope this is hopeless.
Lets try Andrea.

1. Andrea shows class and grace in all her dealings with staff (no she used to hide in her office random telling staff their work doesn't meet her high exacting standards but then offers no advice or guidance as to what she is looking for - because she doesn't know)

1. Andrea is a fantastic figurehead for the company managing corporate relationships to perfection. ( Qatar Airways dumped TMF because they were being shown a lack of respect, Kempinski dropped TMF after the relationship broke down irrevocably, Sawasdee speaks for itself)

Final try, this is harder than I thought.

1. Andrea shows great business accumen. (Hmmm, allowing her only profitable title Oryx to slip through her fingers whilst placing all her faith in a Mall magazine to resurect the company's fortunes)

this is too hard but I'm sure anon @ 12.45 can think of lots of nice things to say about his good friends at TMF.
The floor is yours, but let me get you started.

1. Andrea has nice shoes.
2.....

Anonymous said...

@12.45

Really?
Is your defence of these people simply that Russell will tell you to your face if he doesn't like you?
That's it!!!!

And that some of the people writing on this blog were probably fired (maybe even legitimately!!!!)

Well that's me convinced.
Would all the nasty people writing rude things about little Russell Frame and Andrea please now stop.

Your just being cowards and big meanies.

Funny as anyone who has ever dealt with Russell knows him to be a tremendous bully that hides behind the power afforded him by Andrea.
For those who worked at TMF it appeared that Russell genuinely relished sacking people making light of their situation after they were gone.
Andrea on the other hand was a coward. She would use Russell to bully the staff whilst she hid behind her glass door too afraid to confront the staff herself. Note that Andrea has never carried out any firings herself. Despite the long levels of service from some now ex-staffers no-one is ever given the courtesy of an exit interview with Andrea. Instead they are booted out by the bully (frequently on false charges)

Neither of these people are worth defending and it is with genuine glee (that's right my levels of joy have reached GLEE) that we can witness their sad little company come crashing down.

Good luck finding another job Russell. Please can you keep us posted on where you go when TMF shuts down as it will be good sport to run a sweepstake on how long you last when your out from under Andrea's batwings.

Anonymous said...

A suggestion. I know one man who could turn around TMF. James Langton. He has integrity, courage, vision. He is a superb all round journalist. He has been badly treated by the National. Having lured him out of well deserved retirement in Oxfordshire, where he had become the county's top baker of unusual breads and cakes and an award winner for his amazing Oxfordshire 'stick' (a teeth crunching variant of a French loaf, minus the yeast) , he was THE mastermind in setting up the National. Now the paper has cast him aside and made him a laughing stock. It is so sad. If I was in charge of TMF I would give James his head.

Anonymous said...

It would take a lot more than James Langton to salvage TMF.

With no magazines of any credibility and a total loss of advertising confidence where do you start with this car crash of a company.

Anonymous said...

@ 12.57

1. Russell can eat more Big Macs in one sitting than anyone i know.

2. Russell is a lot smarter than he makes out, only pretending to be the dumbest person in the room to help boost other peoples confidence.

3. Russell is the driving force behind all TMF's recent success!


1. Andrea also has some nice bags.

Anonymous said...

Wow.... some story, and I thought working for Nicholas Publishing was a joke !

Rebecca said...

Seriously you Anonymous bitter spastics; obviously there is a recession today, hence causing all companies to re-evaluate their position. One thing you Anonymous idiots haven’t evaluated is why where you let go – obviously you didn’t contribute enough to keep your position and let’s be honest when someone is spectacular and brings something to the drawing board, a company will do anything in their power to keep you.

Also all you Anonymous idiots instead of spending your time slandering TMF, which by the way is renowned in the UAE as a company that pays their staff, why don’t you speak to ex ITP; CPI & Motivate staff then you will see the benefits of TMF. Back to the point instead of spending your time blogging your frustrations and as you all believe that you are the ones that made TMF and you are so employable or even entrepreneurial why don’t you go and find a job or even start-up your own company?

Your personal attacks are really low and I have to agree with some of the Anonymous bloggers why don’t you say who you are – oh yeah – forgot your cowards. I hope that TMF do find out who the cruel Anonymous idiots are and actually start legal proceedings against the individuals for wrongful accusations and slander.

Well, Anonymous idiots I have to go now because yes I have a job, but just took a moment to tell you cruel individuals to GET A LIFE!

Anonymous said...

Does anyone know what magazines TMF still publish?

Are they officially closing down?

Anonymous said...

08:11 New thread please. Yes, Emirates Business 24|7 is on its way out. The big bosses are now debating as to how put it down 'peacefully' without attracting much negative coverage. Last I heard was it might be given a final lease of life as an online-only website with a trimmed down staff. Most senior editors are still in dark about the future. A final solution is still being debated... But people have been sacked quietly in twos and threes. Pagination has been cut back to 40 pages from 48.

Anonymous said...

Hi Rebecca,

To address some of the points you made to the rest of us spastics.

what exactly does TMF's spectacular Russell Frame bring to the table.
Journalist write, Designers lay the magazines out, the sales staff - sell to the best of their ability at least. The HR department and IT deal with most other things.
So what does your spectacular Russell Frame do that justifies his position whilst the rest of us look for new jobs?
Of course we are bitter, we have lost our jobs because everyone knows the management is so incredibly inept.

Also if TMF are renowned for paying their staff why have they lost so many court cases with Ex staffers of late?
Thats right because you are wrong.
Given the numbers of their total staffing TMF has a terrible reputation for abusing its staff or attempting to avoid paying redundancy.

I would love to see TMF initiate legal action.
Who would do that Russell? Don't make me laugh, this could only result in excessive legal costs for TMF as the man c*cks up everything his stubby fingers come into contact with.

Finally for anyone that still has a job, and has no doubt been assured that they are safe as a result of the 'restructure', TMF's magazines don't make any money.
The only way to stop them losing so much is to stop printing them, which i believe will upset some of their advertisers.
Perhaps thats managements next genius strategy!

Anonymous said...

@ rebecca

Yes there is a recession, but whether this was the case or not, everyone knows TMF's fate was sealed when they lost Oryx.

The company has been a dead man walking for months and only vanity has stopped them closing the doors.
Vanity that is and Rani's family cash.

Anonymous said...

@ REBECCA

nice defence of TMF!!!
however I don't believe there has been any sladerous statements on this blog.
TMF are a classic example of a company built on sand.
With the loss of Oryx it all falls apart. The only mystery is how the company has survived for so long.
Oh yeah that and what the hell does Russell Frame do?

Anonymous said...

To so-called Rebecca,

You criticized others for being anonymous while you gave yourself a female's name to alleviate attention.

Here's a quote from what ‘Rebecca’ had to say above: "I hope that TMF do find out who the cruel Anonymous idiots are and actually start legal proceedings against the individuals for wrongful accusations and slander".

With this threatening attitude and words like ‘legal proceedings’ and ‘wrongful’ don't you guys sniff a Russelly tone, being a ‘certified’ liar, err lawyer?

Anonymous said...

Wow Rebecca, what a beautiful turn of phrase you have. You must be an asset to the remaining TMF team.

Anonymous said...

Rebecca wins for the best comment on the TMF defence side.

But hang on a second - let's carefully read through what she had to say earlier: "I hope that TMF do find out who the cruel Anonymous idiots are and actually start legal proceedings against the individuals for wrongful accusations and slander".

What do words like 'legal proceedings', 'wrongful' remind you off?

Try another one Russell!

Anonymous said...

21 June, 2010 17:36

Hi Andrea! Welcome back.

Your lack of spelling and punctuation skills is a bit of a give-away though.

Anonymous said...

TMF are now advertising for 'enthusiastic' unpaid interns on Dubizzle. http://dubai.dubizzle.com/jobs/media/2010/6/23/journalism-internships/

As an ex-employee myself it used to be a decent place to work, now it's just embarrassing to hear what's happening there and how the management are dealing with it.

Anonymous said...

Hello Rebecca...
the apparent staunch supporter of TMF..clearly you mut still be employed with TMF AND in order to ensure you stay that way have decided to put on a comment with your name in bold....
i hope it gets you your ensured continuance or perhaps...your now new and hiked salary and designation....if my source was right..you were most displeased yourself about how you were treated just about 4 months ago when your designation and job profile was reviewed and only on making a stink about it was it resolved....good for you...but all the other alleged "spastics" did not have yout turn of fortune...so since you have not been maligned ...YET ...by TMF ..I would suggest you save such sanctimonious comments for Russell who loves this sort of sycophancy...

Anonymous said...

I thought management at TMF looked to all their staff as 'enthusiastic unpaid interns'.

Anonymous said...

Hi Rebecca,

You are clearly proud to declare your loyalty to TMF and not afraid to put your name in bold so everyone knows who you are.
Well done you!!!
Your obviously very very talented as well as in your comment you state,

'when someone is spectacular and brings something to the drawing board, a company will do anything in their power to keep you. '

I can only assume you are referring to yourself.

So please Rebecca the 'Spectacular', tell us, what exactly is it you do for this ailing publishing house?

Anonymous said...

hello Rebecca,

Please enlighten us all on what you do for TMF that makes you so spectacular!

Anonymous said...

It worth noting the ad in Dubizzle for interns calls TMF 'A leading publishing house based in Dubai Media City'.

Really???
Is that how you still see yourself?
Someone clearly has dillusions of granduer.

Also the intern position is to assist on the Dubai Mall mag only for a period of only 4 weeks.
Is that because even TMF management now realise with no advertising it will constitute their last issue.

Anonymous said...

TMF have become the laughing stock of Dubai publishing.
Not bad given the competition.

Well done Russell and Co you have achieved your ambition of becoming a big name in Middle Eastern Publishing, Just a pity for you its for all the wrong reasons.

Anonymous said...

NPI media is also laying off people and shutting magazines like cityscape down. Even their senior editor has been asked to leave.

Anonymous said...

I heard NPI made a redundancy of an editor a couple of weeks ago. But Cityscape magazine is still going.

Anonymous said...

Cityscape is definitely closing

Anonymous said...

Some Dubai companies are closing titles and making redundancies because of the recession that's destroying unsustainable Dubai's hopes of ever being an international hub. Others would be failing whether there was recession or not because their senior management is beyond bad! Dubai is becoming the laughing stock of the world, widely thought to be populated by either crooks or mediocrities who make a mess of everything they do. For TMF to be a laughing stock in Dubai itself says something about
Russell Frame and Andrea Slater!

Anonymous said...

A suggestion to add to the excellent idea from Anonymous 21 June 13.36. James Langton would obviously be a fabulous leader for TMF. He has integrity, experience and is a dab hand at spotting and cultivating young female talent without thought of personal advantage. Why not try to tempt his old sparring partner Colin Randall back to the UAE from his retirement in France after his sacking by the National as its roving European columnist and football writer? Randall is yin to Langton's yang and together they would make a great combo, like bacon and eggs or bread and butter or sausage and chips.Neither would fall for andrea's charms as a woman. They would concentrate on the job at hand, getting TMF back into shape.

Anonymous said...

There is no doubt that although many media companies in Dubai are struggling in the recession and most have a dubious record in regards to staff treatment, what really sets TMF apart from the rest of the media scene in the sheer scale of the strategic mis-management.

TMF built everything round Oryx and then made bold statements about their success instead of quietly building a more evenly spread portfolio.
Taking on Sawasdee was a great example of the company's ego running the show. That and a sensational example of how clueless Russell and Andrea are in business as even the work experience staff could tell you that printing 100k plus of a magazine that carries virtually no premium advertising is commercial suicide.

Russell and Andrea are two of the dumbest people in media today, its only a shame that it cost so many people their jobs to realise this.

Anonymous said...

It doesn't matter who TMF employ whilst Russell Frame and Andrea ultimately run the show it will continue its slide into the abyss.

It wont be missed, vanity publishing at best, at worst nothing more than a stupid woman's hobby and a bully's wet dream.

Anonymous said...

i agree with those who have said the brilliant, iconoclastic james langton and his erstwhile sidekick and stooge colin randall could save tmf.james would bring journalistic flair and colin would add massive experience tempered by intellect, command of grammar and self denigrating hypochrondia. what a fantastic team would they make.

Anonymous said...

Does anyone have any more news on the laughter factory?

Is the second issue of Dubai Mall being published?
Is sawasdee taking legal action?
Are the still publishing their automotive titles?

Does Russell still sweat when he eats?
Does anybody still care?

Anonymous said...

To be honest, it is a shame to see the company go down like this.

I was actually one of the very first employees for their publishing business back in 2002, when they were only doing some mediocre contract publishing titles.

Back then, they actually paid me before senior staff/directors got any money, which was good. They only had Andrea, Robert Harrison, Gary ?, an office girl and a designer (Kim). Most of their work was for Emaar and they made decent money from that.

Over the years they brought in new titles and everyone worked hard to build the business and went through some tough times early on. Winning the Oryx contract made the company, but this was won through nepotism, as they won it through Rany's sister, whose husband Ali Al Rais was a hotshot at Qatar Airways. But who cares.

As the company grew, they brought in decent journolistic people like Brian Ashby and then some good sales people like Chris Shaw and the mad Francis Morgan.

After that things seemed to take off and they did very well for a while. The problems really began when they took on Autocar and F1 Racing. They had no experience and were franchising from 'big boy' publishers out of the UK. The marriage was of course doomed to failure.

Andrea, although very blonde and couture-obsessed, did work her very cute backside off for many years, but was not a people person and did not know how to run a larger company and struggled. Rany basically wrote cheques and did not contribute too much, except alot of negativity. He is quite a vindictive guy, but a good laugh at the same time.

When they got married, which I hear cost more than Dhs.2million, things obviosuly changed.

I never met Russell and by the sounds of it, this was a good thing. Sounds like a total numpty.

The economy and advertising market in Dubai and the rest of the GCC has suffered, but there is always revenue for quality publishers. The one thing TMF did do is have many its titles audited, which so many others did not. The problem with the advertising market is that it is run by a few agencies, who have throttled the industry, mainly Lebanese. I remember once reading a letter from a 'top' agency, demanding at least 20%+20% from TMF, threatening to not place any ads across any of their titles. Clients still pay 100% of rate cards though, just the agencies making the real money and hard to sustain through a downturn.

Anyway, I feel sorry for the staff that have been laid off and hope that TMF do actually pay them what they are due. I am reliably told that Rany's family can afford to do this.

Anonymous said...

Nothing we didn't already know, but an interesting read nonetheless.

http://www.bangkokpost.com/business/aviation/185280/thai-ends-contract-with-inflight-magazine-publisher

Anonymous said...

Gulf news shed lots of editorial this week, as i predicted days ago...

Anonymous said...

TMF no longer have their titles audited. Just like the rest of Dubai they now just lie about print runs and circulation.

Anonymous said...

@Anon 13.42 Please shed some light on the names of GN staff thats laid off...is it the reporters? editors?

Anonymous said...

Interesting thing about this blog is that noone has a good word to say about any publisher in Dubai - not TMF, not ITP, not Nicholas, Motivate, Gulf News, National etc.

Some are clearly worse than others (TMF's Russell Frame and Andrea Slater stand out as being particularly inept and nasty) but it seems morale in Dubai publishing generally is bad, with complaints about poor business practices, low creative standards and disdain for staff.

Dubai publishing is suffering only partly due to the recession wrecking the deluded aspirations of this unsustainable city. Its downfall is also because management ethics are scarcely regulated in this upstart and corrupt emerging market.

More jobs across sectors will go through unfair sackings, redundancies and expat staff jumping sinking ship. It will be interesting to see what becomes of some of shrinking Dubai's so-called leading publishers. Unemployable in the "real world"? Incapable of staying out of prison? A laughing stock due to their tacky bimbo antics?

Anonymous said...

Anon: who are you referring to when you say "...tacky bimbo antics"? Surely no vulgar WAG bimbos have married into Arab cash to run vanity publishing companies in Dubai, aided and abetted by dodgy bully-boys who would be incapable of holding positions of influence anywhere else? It all sounds a tad backward to me.

Anonymous said...

It's because of miserable, amateur outfits such as TMF that Dubai is failing. Companies may have set up here but if they are backward, the city remains backward too. Dubai should not allow companies like TMF to let it down. A good start would be for Tecom to force its unscrupulous directors to pay redundancies like any other law-abiding company. Save Dubai from turn-off traders!

Anonymous said...

Off message but Dubai property prices, which have already fallen 60% since their peak, are set to fall a further 30% this year. There is no sign of recovery and experts predict prices will never return to the over-inflated heights of the past.

Dreams of tax-free salaries and rocketing property investments have long faded for those now insecure about their jobs and yet lumbered with a mortgage on a worthless home.

Too many Dubai companies built their foundations on sand, literally and metaphorically. TMF's contracts with Thai Airways, Emaar and Haymarket are a case in point - Russell Frame's and Andrea Slater's sums simply did not add up, making anything other than heavy losses impossible.

TMF staff past and present know the limitations of their employers but are happy to milk it, claim a salary for as long as the party lasts and then move on to better places.

Russell may think it's the staff who have "been framed", but it's actually him. He and Andrea, after all, need the funding of Andrea's husband, Rany, more than most.

http://www.propertywire.com/news/middle-east/no-property-upturn-predicted-200910303634.html

Anonymous said...

'Save Dubai from turn-off traders'! I like it. That should actually be a proper campaign. Business mags like Arabian Business should take it up (if they're allowed to by the censors!). It's totally true that this emirate would attract more expats and have longevity if only it realised that cowboy outfits with nothing substantial to offer the market were doomed to failure. Dubai needs companies of substance both in the media and in other sectors. Those who have given Dubai a bad name should be rejected both by the market and the Government. If the Government showed its disapproval of corruption it would win credibility and much-needed trust. It shouldn't matter that a company has links with an affluent local if it's run by idiots who not only fail in business but also on a human level, earning nothing but animosity from both clients and employers.

Rob Nicholas said...

Reluctantly jumping into this sea of anonymity just to clarify that Cityscape magazine has not been closed by NPI.
Since this thread was brought to my attention I felt obliged to comment.
Cityscape Magazine belongs to the Cityscape Exhibition and its parent companies IIR Conferences & Exhibitions and Informa PLC. NPI belongs to the same group.
Publishing Cityscape Magazine is a key part of the marketing and communications strategy for the publication's owner and they do not plan to cease publishing this title.

- Rob Nicholas, MD, Nicholas Publishing International (NPI)

Anonymous said...

RUSSELL FRAME, DIRECTOR OF ARABIAN INTERACTIVE
Interesting that Russell Frame is trying to distance himself from being a director at The Media Factory. He is promoting himself as director of Arabian Interactive only. He is playing down the fact Arabian Interactive is an off-shoot of TMF - it was supposed to be the digital arm of the publisher but, with Frame at the helm,it has gone nowhere. However, Frame would rather names-drop an unknown company that has done nothing than be associated with a company that has a terrible reputation, and that gets negative Google searches. Covering tracks for a re-invention?

Anonymous said...

How funny that Russell Frame is pitching himself as the director of Arabian Interactive.
The only websites they have been responsible for 'developing', if you can call it that, are TMF branded sites.
Russell has no background or understanding of this new media, just as he had no background or understanding of printed media.

What amazes me is that Andrea (or more accurately Rany) is funding this vehicle for him to manage, as he still opperates out of the TMF offices.
Whilst TMF becomes the laughing stock of the already tainted Dubai Media scene, Russell parades round declaring himself the MD of Arabian Interactive in a desperate attempt to bolster his CV and ultimately escape the ship that he effectively sunk.

Anonymous said...

Whether its Arabian Interactive or TMF the results are the same.

Both are commercial failures and it doesn't take a genius to join the dots and see who is the driving force behind them.

Russell Frame is certainly a contender for one of the most inept managers in Dubai's short media history.

The real question is, why does Rany continue to support a man that has made him and his media 'empire' the laughing stock of Dubai?

Anonymous said...

Russell will be desperately distancing himself from TMF, as its well known he has been passing his CV to anyone that will take it.
Given TMF's spectacular fall from grace - No longer 'Dubai's self proclaimed 3rd biggest publisher' but definately Dubai's worst, its unlikely he will want anyone to be reminded of his central role in its demise.

Anonymous said...

I find all this Russell bashing unsporting.
He has some good qualities as well. I tend to find anyone of his ample physique automatically cheers me up on sight becuase they look rather jolly.

Anonymous said...

I got sacked by Andrea when I was at TMF. I didn't actually know I'd been sacked until I was sat in the pub a few hours later and read the severance letter. I thought I'd resigned. Live and learn. Apparently I got the bullet for professional negligence... not all that sure what that means. The good folks at the BBC seem to think I'm OK.

Anyway, she was quite cool during the meeting. Russell however marched me out of the building and Andrea's husband then threatened to have me locked up as I was leaving the carpark.

I've worked in some God-awful places, but TMF was by far the worst when it comes to journalism. It's a real shame as there are (were?) lots of lovely people on the staff and some proper talent. I'd come from four years at the Guardian and was bloody appalled at how rubbish it was there. Went on to Motivate and had a great time and was treated really well by the company.

In general though, the standards in Dubai are pretty dreadful when it comes to journalistic practice.

Anonymous said...

http://sprouter.com/russell

Nope, I cannot see any sign of TMF here.
However I am most amused to read that he is the Managing Director of Arabian Interactive, the region's leading interactive agency, and an attorney based in Dubai.

I had no idea Arabian Interactive was the regions leading interactive agency!!
Congratulations, another triumph for Russell and surely a big feather in this high flying attorney's cap.

In terms of his legal career apprently the only time this baffoon practices law is when he represents TMF at employment hearings where is track record is 100% loss.

Anonymous said...

When employers decide whether they want to interview job hunters after receiving their CV, they usually Google them first. It's ironic that the prospects of Russell Frame, director of Arabian Interactive, will be marred by internet technology. The man who destroyed The Media Factory has done no better with digital company Arabian Interactive, or aiTV, as it is sometimes known.

PS Where did Russell Frame train to be an attorney?

Anonymous said...

Is Russell Frame, the self-styled director of the seemingly dormant Arabian Interactive, now job-hunting as an "attorney" or as a new media professional?

Anonymous said...

Here's an online news item dating back to late 2008 about a debate about the internet in the Middle East.

Interestingly, a representative from Arabian Interactive was on the panel discussing this subject.

This representative was not Russell Frame, who was then publicity-shy following a legal wrangle with a former employer in which his passport was withheld for three years (since resolved).

Frame's stand-in was his money-bags boss Rany Dolah, not known to be a media or new media expert.

Frame's no-show in favour of frontman Dolah is significant enough, but more so is the fact Arabian Interactive is dormant even today - back then it was nothing more than a vague idea in Frame's little brain.

http://mediame.com/taxonomy/tags/arabian_interactive

Anonymous said...

A story in Arabian Business today suggests that TMF is close to a Mediaquest takeover:

http://www.arabianbusiness.com/595102-mediaquest-poised-to-buy-ailing-dubai-publisher

Anonymous said...

I also recently heard the rumour that TMF was in sales talks with Mediaquest, as reported in Arabian Business. TMF's business titles may be worth saving and developing under new ownership but it's doubtful their sales value will be high, given their profit/loss margins.

Anonymous said...

Statement from Mediaquest co-CEO Alexandre Hawari.

"We are aware of the reputation of The Media Factory. We cannot confirm if we are in talks to buy any of its titles. We can, however, confirm we are expanding our Beirut office.

"Founded in Paris 23 years ago, Mediaquest aims to become one of the leading media companies in the Middle East and North Africa based on our portfolio of business titles including Trends, Arabies and Communicate.

"In 2008, we took over the publishing and event divisions of Gray Business Communications, adding titles such as Gulf Marketing Review to our portfolio".

Anonymous said...

For job enquiries, Mediaquest can be contacted at:

Tel: +971 4 3910760
Fax: +971 4 3908737
info@mediaquestcorp.com
Al Thuraya Tower 2, 24th Floor
Office 2402, Dubai Media City
P.O.Box 72184, Dubai, UAE

I gather Mediaquest does not have a reputation with Tecom over labour disputes in the way The Media Factory has.

Russell Frame, director of TMF and Arabian Interactive, need not apply!

Anonymous said...

Why would Mediaquest buy any magazines from TMF?

The Brief is a commercial disaster, losing money hand over fist since its launch, editorially confused and utterley failing to apeal to advertisers.

Policy has some legs and may have a small value, as its an established brand, however how much do you pay for a magazine that only barely breaks even.

.Commerce is a nice concept but still losses staggeroing amounts of money through its disasterous mismanagement. Again, its difficult to place any value on it, TMF will surely take any asking price, just to experience what it is like to get money coming in for a change.

Anonymous said...

Curiouser and curiouser:

The Dubai Media City website lists Arabian Interactive contact details with no PO Box and no mention of Russell Frame. Instead, it gives the email address for Rany Doleh, Andrea Slater's Emerati husband who funds both Arabian Interactive and The Media Factory. Even more interesting, this digital media company does not even give its website!!! Meanwhile the listing for TMF gives a PO Box address, the email of the HR woman and the website. See below.

Arabian Interactive FZ-LLC
Building Name Building 5
Activity Digital Media Library, Distribution and Management
PO Box NA
Email Address rany@themediafactory.ae
Primary Phone Number 6508920

The Media Factory FZ-LLC
Building Name Building 5
Activity Magazines
PO Box P.O.Box 37262
Email Address Melissa@themediafactory.ae
Primary Phone Number 390 2260
Fax Number 390 8060
Website www.themediafactory.ae

Rhetorical question: why is Russell Frame so publicity shy?

Anonymous said...

I've just emailed rany@themediafactory.ae giving him a few home truths.

Anonymous said...

Off message but the naive property developer, John O-Dolan, who bought "England" on The World fake island development for £20m, killed himself because he could not see how to clean up the mess caused by being gullible about the Dubai speculative bubble.

Anonymous said...

This blog reminds me of vultures soaring over a dying beast, or, less poetically, a Big Brother crowd waiting to boo out the most loathsome housemate!

Anonymous said...

John O'Dolan bought Ireland, not England.

Anonymous said...

According to the Limerick Leader he bought both of them

http://www.limerickleader.ie/news/Developer-O39Dolan-had-been-39stressed39.5431014.jp

Anonymous said...

Sorry to be petty, but there isn't an island called England.

The closest approximation is an island called 'United Kingdom' - incorrectly called 'Great Britain' by the majority of UAE media.

I know, from having interviewed O'Dolan's business partners last year, that his company had only bought the Ireland development. Their project was called 'Ireland in the Sun'.

The guy who bought the 'United Kingdom' development is Safi Qurashi, who has been widely featured in local media.

He is now unfortunately in jail.

http://www.business.maktoob.com/20090000439898/Dubai_luxury_island_developer_in_jail/Article.htm

Anonymous said...

To be really petty, Great Britain, as a name for the island, is completely correct. That's the name of the land mass that comprises England, Scotland and Wales. United Kingdom is a political entity and would have to include a chunk of Ireland. British Isles, however, would include all of Ireland as well as some chunks of rock in the North and the channel.

Anonymous said...

The World and The Media Factory are just two of many big and small disasters that symbolise Dubai greed and stupidity.

Anonymous said...

A Dubai morality tale involving greed and crime. Sounds like something other than The World scandal.

Anonymous said...

The Island is in fact Great Britain containing England , Scotland and Wales.The United Kingdom in addition contains Northern Ireland.Hence 'The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland '.

Anonymous said...

Sorry, I meant the name that Nakheel has given to the corresponding landmass in the World development, rather than the actual island of Great Britain.

http://www.theworld.ae/iv_islands.html

Anonymous said...

word has it from one of the senior managers of media factory's last big money making magazine that Media quest will be buying tmf for approx US$ 3 million and taking all seniors on board...so they are safe.....wonder if they will pay all dues that they cheated ex employees out of this amount...good luck to mediaquest on this acquisition....

Anonymous said...

'word has it from one of the senior managers of media factory's last big money making magazine that Media quest will be buying tmf for approx US$ 3 million'

What a rediculous story.

a) TMF doesn't have a big money making magazine. If you are refering to .commerce then you are sadly mistaken, the magazine loses a fortune. Huge print runs imposed by the ADCCI, coupled with the depressed ad market, ensure the magazine is a loss leader.

b)This story has no doubt been created in a transparent attempt to try and stir up a buzz and drive up the company value.

c) if mediaquest carry out any diligence they will see that TMF will soon collapse altogether, and so i'd be surprised if their offer was anything greater than $1 and the promise to meet their current obligations to redundant staff etc.

c) Finally given TMF's commercial track record of late, there is no chance Mediaquest will spend money aquiring this joke of a company only to saddle itself with the very management that have crippled the company to date.

Anonymous said...

on what planet would TMF's little portfolio be worth $3m?

At that rate, even CPI being worth around 20pence.

Anonymous said...

Even if TMF is sold, the money raised won't begin to recoup the millions wasted on artificially bankrolling so many commercially unviable titles for so long. TMF remains the ultimate example of inept vanity publishing. Mediaquest may be able to develop a few of its business titles but I wouldn't count on them becoming profitable soon, even without Andrea Slater and Russell Frame there to to mess things up. Given the choice of redundancy or keeping a job, I would want out any day.

Anonymous said...

a cowboy outfit to be run by indians is not a solution

Anonymous said...

I notice there has been very little in the way of confirmation that Mediaquest are even in talks with TMF.
Could it be the whole rumour is just another lie, to sit alongside their, 'Dubai's 3rd biggest publisher claim'

Anonymous said...

Is Russell Frame, so called director of The Media Factory and Arabian Interactive a true "attorney" and a real new media expert?

Anonymous said...

Russell Frame and Andrea Slater of The Media Factory are fuming about this website but can do nothing about it as the truth is the truth.

Anonymous said...

Russell picture Frame. Andrea Slated.

Who knows these people and who frankly cares?

Boring Boring Boring.

Perhaps I'll cut my face off with a shard of glass.

Maybe that will alleviate some of the suicidal thoughts from the repetative victimisation of a pair of people who are, to the majority of people here, little more than characters from a shite service-station novel.

Grow up, please.

Anonymous said...

Can you tell em ifs there a company calld Pinpint in Dubaii?I have sold them my photography shoot but have received no payment since five months.

anon_hack said...

"Russell Frame and Andrea Slater of The Media Factory are fuming about this website but can do nothing about it as the truth is the truth."

They may or may not be heartened to know that at least three-quarters of the comments posted about them are being deleted. Only the very tamest are being approved.

There have been several very interesting claims made, but unless Anonymous commenters are able to provide links and sources to back up their claims, we don't feel it is fair to publish them.

Anonymous said...

Those civilised Saudis

http://www.emirates247.com/news/region/90-year-old-saudi-to-get-100-lashes-2010-08-31-1.285963

Anonymous said...

TMF fades away

Those who expected TMF to crash dramatically might be disappointed that it's simply fading away with low key magazine closures and redundancies.

It transpires Mediaquest was not so stupid as to buy TMF. It has, however, taken over the cost of paying the license to Haymarket for the car titles, Autocar and F1. It's also added a small business title, Policy, to its existing business magazine portfolio. As for .Commerce etc.. it has no takers as its contract makes it unsustainable along with most other TMF titles.

Under TMF both car titles made a loss but Mediaquest may be better publishers - it can't be difficult. The car magazines' three-strong editorial team is now employed by Mediaquest, although no designer or sales executive was asked to remain on the titles under the new management.

Meanwhile, TMF has more redundancies in sales, design and advertising and it now limps on with a tiny skeleton staff, there simply to wind down a couple of small publshing projects. The handful who remain are job hunting like crazy as they know their days are numbered.

As mentioned here previously, TMF "director" Russell Frame is set to remain the lapdog-come-henchman of TMF owners, WAG Andrea Slater and her money-bags Emirati husband, Rany Doleh. The trio deserve each other.

As for Richard Paton, the KPMG business consultant called in by Slater to sort out the mess caused by herself and Frame, he is winding down his obligations.

The subdued nature of TMF's final nail in its coffin is a bit of an anti-climax. But we can soon finally say goodbye to perhaps the most appalling publisher ever to operate in Dubai.

Anonymous said...

An all too familiar story of people in charge on big salaries thinking they know it all!!!

Listen to employees, new ideas and digital

Anonymous said...

It's staggering that if TMF is still in business and possibly even pitching for new press or online accounts it has such an appalling and grossly out of date website.

Surely, the first thing any prospective client does is check out the website of a service media agency. They are greeted with outdated design and a bunch of incorrect claims (I won't say lies) that TMF still publishes titles for Qatar Airways, Thai Airways, Hamptons International and Kempinski Hotels, not to mention Autocar and Formula One, recently taken over by Mediaquest.

Mediaquest should order TMF's Russell Frame to take down the misleading information immediately. It has enough on its plate trying to turn around the titles that were so badly mismanaged by TMF to have to correct any further confusion caused by the inept directors of a failed publishing outfit.

Anonymous said...

Due to the lack of money and TMF cannot pay on time, Accounts Department has been instructed by the top guys to lie about the delayed payments of salaries and gratuity and to put the blame on the incompetence of the banking sector.

While I try to be more understanding of the bad situation TMF is into right now, lying is just below the belt and is completely unprofessional and unacceptable. TMF does not only breach their agreements on payments due date but, also maliciously tarnishes the banks' reputation.

I wonder how the banking sector would react once they know how TMF are using them as an scapegoat and in the process ruining the banks' name. I for one, almost migrated to another bank for almost believing it was the bank who's been at fault.

It's so ironic that TMF is the publisher of The Brief magazine - Middle East Law for the Business Professional yet they continue to break the law.

Anonymous said...

TMF WAS the publisher of the Brief. It was sold to Mediaquest along with F1 etc.. Time will tell if a regional law magazine will ever make money.

Anonymous said...

Hello, I wonder if someone on this site can offer me some advice. I'm a business journalist and editor in London who has seen editorial jobs in Dubai advertised. I'm receptive to a few years as an expat even if I've heard conflicting reports about Dubai as a city and the media work place there. Also, the salaries do not seem great, even when tax-free. So my questions are: what are the standards of both editorial and staff treatment generally? Which publishers do you recommend and which would you avoid? Does a salary go further in Dubai than in London? Is there much to do there and a lively expat scene?

Anonymous said...

I was recently made redundant by TMF and am owed my contractual salary even if I've given up on gratuity entitlement. What goes around comes around as they say. I hear this is applicable to both Andrea Slater and Russell Frame right now.

Anonymous said...

Come on Richard Paton, what would your former colleagues at KPMG say if they heard that, in your new role as managing director of TMF, you were allowing such delays to payments of invoices? We expect it from longer standing TMF directors but not of a Dubai newbie who is supposed to know better.

Anonymous said...

One way Mediaquest may reduce the loss margins of its TMF aquisitions is that it pays its staff so badly, most well under AED18k per month. TMF was a lousy company, and it's now reneging on invoice and redundancy payments, but it did pay OK wages back in the days when it was blissfully ignorant of a failure to balance cash going out with cash coming in.

Anonymous said...

Seen these press release quotes from Mediaquest and TMF?

Alexandre Hawari, co-CEO of Mediaquest, said: "The Media Factory is an established and respected publisher of a number of quality titles [COUGH] which we have now acquired."

Tim Bulley, Licensing Director at Haymarket Media Group commented that "Haymarket is very excited to be growing its licensed portfolio with Mediaquest. We look forward to our new partnership with Mediaquest and are excited about their ambitions for our brands moving forward. We are confident that they will build on the strong foundations set by TMF [COUGH]."

Speaking for The Media Factory, Andrea Slater, CEO said: "We have given these titles a good commercial start and we are more than confident that Mediaquest will continue to publish them to the same standard established by The Media Factory [LOL]. We wish Mediaquest a prosperous and beneficial future publishing these brands as they move forward into an improving economic landscape [YEAH ANDREA, YOU'D HAVE SUCCEEEDED TOO HAD IT NOT BEEN FOR THE RECESSION. NOTHING TO DO WITH BEING AS THICK AS A PLANK EH?]."


PS All those owed money by TMF can contact:
Russell Frame
Deputy Managing Director
The Media Factory FZ LLC
Tel: 04 390 2299
E-mail: Russell@themediafactory.ae

Anonymous said...

It's so ironic that TMF is the publisher of The Brief magazine - Middle East Law for the Business Professional yet they continue to break the law.

Well said! Such scumbags.

Anonymous said...

The TMF saga continues. The greatly depleted company has launched a new website (see below). Trouble is it is still claiming to publish titles it doesn't. It can no longer simply claim the old website was out of date. What's more, the new site is available online even though the copy is still dummie! Dummie being the appropriate word for TMF's Russell Frame and Andrea Slater.

http://www.themediafactory.ae/

Anonymous said...

Hilarious to be alerted to TMF's new website. While some of the text is Latin dummie copy, some is written to include a smutty joke which would not go down well with Dubai's authorities.

"Welcome to The Media Factory. We are purveyors of the finest design, CUNNING LINGUISTS, mass media disseminators and powerful pixel manipulators.

Crude humour aside such pretentious nonsense has all the hallmarks of Russell Frame and Andrea who, in the absence of substance, think using confusing words will impress.

For example: "We believe in functionality, accessibility and above all usability. We are a hand selected team with incredibly high international standards".

Usability! Hand selected! What verbal diarrhea. Another amusing thing is the illustration of a factory with chimneys spewing out the new TMF logo. Does this mean TMF is a pollutant?

When will they accept their limitations and throw in the towel?

Anonymous said...

Interesting that no names are given as contacts in TMF's "hand selected team". It's also interesting that Richard Paton, brought in from KPMG to sort out the TMF mess, is now touting himself elsewhere online as a management consultant in the Middle East. Does this mean he has jumped ship already or is about to do so? Let's hope association with TMF doesn't harm his new business interests.

Anonymous said...

I think the lack of quality and expertise shown by TMF is obvious in their own website. Lorem ipsum copy used throughout the site, really is not going to impress many potential clients is it!!!

Anonymous said...

I've just looked through the new TMF website, and it doesn't look like they are claiming to still publish anything they don't. A gutsy move to re-brand and re-launch their website with such recent bad press about them though (if you can call this site press?). Makes sense since they are a fraction of the size they used to be.

Can they claim that certain magazines that they once published are part of their creative portfolio? Why not? They did publish them once upon a time, and they do demonstrate their creative abilities. Although reluctant to say so, the new site and logo are really quite good.

Anonymous said...

What a nonsense. Unfortunately it is very common in Dubai to claim credit for everything a company once did a phone call for.
TMF neither has the experience nor the references for the services they claim to offer. That's just classical overselling TMF style. What once was the "leading publishing house" now becomes the "leading we-do-everything-but-nothing-or-whatever-general-trading company". It's just a question of time until this bubble bursts again as this company has no expertise, no work ethics and a spineless management.
With all the outstanding payments for former employees and suppliers which are simply threatened when they ask for their good rights, this company should just be blacklisted until that's all settled. Wake up Tecom!

Anonymous said...

No Lorem ipsum or mention of 'cunning linguists' when I looked on new TMF site. I believe you if you say they were there a few days ago though. Russell Frame must either have been in the process of finalising the site or he quickly responded to your comments, in which case you're helping TMF through positive criticism!

I also agree with another comment that it's standard practice to list former clients on sites. However, using the Thai Airways logo is a bit rich given the way the airline and the publisher fell out. The same can be said of many other deceased client relationships too.

The new TMF, with its small portfolio and small team, may have learned lessons from the past. However, with Russell Frame and Andrea Slater still in place, it is hard to believe that their lack of creative and business skills, reluctance to pay contributors, disdain for staff and arrogance to clients will have changed, meaning they are likely to make the same mistakes all over again.

They also have to contend with a bad reputation now that their record has been exposed, not just on this website but through word of mouth across the media way beyond Dubai.

Anonymous said...

PS I also think it's a sign of a dodgy company when no senior employees are profiled or at least listed as contacts (it will be interesting to see if a couple of names crop up soon).

I also dispute a comment above that the new website is that impressive. It makes a lot of promises about professionalism that it failed to meet previously, and I agree the illustration of a factory spewing out the new TMF logo has backfired, given their poor reputation for client and staff relations.

The only future TMF has is when Russell Frame is dumped for someone with expertise and values. It would also help if Andrea Slater kept herself out of the picture. Both unlikely.

Anonymous said...

6 years handling Oryx Magazine..and not accolade to show..barely a year since taking it over and the results of a professional publishing unit shows...

Agency Fish win 5 Awards for Qatar Airways' Oryx in-flight magazine

"We are simply delighted to have won Gold and 4 Silver awards for Qatar Airways' Oryx magazine."
Stephen Peaple, Executive Editor, Oryx...."

as indicated ...TMF was only interested in the money ..and for themselves ...wonder what the over rated, overpaid and over sized Russel can say to this ....

Anonymous said...

To the handful of former TMF employees who are wasting their time venting their frustration anonymously on this website, we suggest you focus on your own career and life and let TMF focus on its own business development.

TMF was not perfect but neither were those employees it let go, either because of their own performance or the performance of the company during a difficult economic time.

TMF wishes all former employees well in their future and hopes they in turn wish TMF well.

Anonymous said...

I've not been on this site for a while but hugely entertained by the final posting dated 3 Nov, praising the new TMF website.

Its nice to see Russell praise his own work.

Apparently TMF finally closed it doors. Not surprising. A shambolic new website is hardly going to attract new business. All this headed up by Russell Frame.

Will Andrea ever realise that her greatest failing was the faith she placed in this fool of a man.
His rise to power was the single most damaging act that brought this company to its knees. Every decision he made was wrong. His arrogance meant he rolled over anyone that dared to question him and his understanding of publishing in print or digital was non existent.

Your final website is a fitting epitaph for a company that really didn't know what it was doing.

You were a total embarrasment Russell and i hope you are proud of what you achieved, the biggest Joke in Dubai.