ENG shuts titles
Announcement of “temporary suspension” comes as second Dubai publisher, The Media Factory, announces restructuring
June 22, 2010 2:10 by Samuel Potter
Dubai-based publishing company ENG Media is to stop publication of its titles while it fights a legal case with Fujairah Media, the free zone through which the magazines are licensed.
A letter seen by Kipp from Rehan Merchant, group CEO of Emirates Neon Group, to agencies and advertisers, says the firm has been advised by its lawyers to temporarily suspend publishing “to avoid any forceful scenarios in the future.” It is understood that Fujairah Media and ENG are suing each other over financial disputes.
ENG produces media title Media Week, celebrity lifestyle magazine Insider, and men’s title IQ. It also publishes the beauty trade title BH&W (Beauty, Health and Wellbeing).
ENG has run into repeated financial difficulties since it launched its titles in 2008. Staff who left the paper in January complain of outstanding wages dating back to last October, and current salaries are overdue by several months.
Merchant writes, “ENG’s publishing division will be re-launching the existing titles later down the year from another emirate as a lot of money and effort has been put into building brand equity in the market. We see this market jumping back and we are sure about our existence in such a magazine market.”
Nonetheless, Kipp understands that ENG is open to offers on its titles. With a bad market reputation for not paying salaries, the publisher may have trouble recruiting staff to relaunch its magazines.
ENG also has an outdoor media arm, and Merchant’s letter claims out-of-home business is “growing back steadily,” with the company “wining major tenders from the RTA [Dubai’s Roads and Transport Authority] on Sheikh Zayed Road and Mirdiff areas for lampposts, and other notable tenders for bridges.”
Despite repeated attempts, neither Merchant nor publishing director Mike Orlov could be reached for comment.
ENG’s suspension of titles comes hot on the heels of The Media Factory (TMF), another Dubai publisher, announcing a restructuring and layoffs. Management at the firm, whose titles include Dot Commerce (published under contract for the Abu Dhabi Chamber of Commerce) and the regional edition of Haymarket’s Autocar, blames “a lackluster second quarter and the anticipated lean period over the summer months.” In a statement, TMF says it will continue to publish all the magazines produced out of its Dubai Media City office. And says the recent rioting in Thailand damaged advertiser sentiment for Thai Airways’ inflight magazine, Sawasdee, also published by TMF.
Although TMF would not reveal the number of layoffs, rumors in the media industry say around 16 staff have been made redundant.