Five Minute Focus – TMN Legal Initiative

With the launch of the ‘TMN Legal Initiative by The Media Network (TMN) and Al Tamimi & Company, Team TMN sit down with Fiona Robertson, Senior Associate at Al Tamimi & Company to talk about the new initiative and what to expect…

Tell us about the concept behind the ‘TMN Legal Initiative’…

It became evident when TMN and Al Tamimi did a presentation on legal issues around content creation, that a lot of smaller agencies were not using well-written and up-to-date contracts for their client services. For smaller companies and particularly those in startup mode, securing quality contracts does not get the priority that it deserves and this is often due solely to the cost. So TMN approached us about the possibility of assisting new small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the media industry to obtain quality contracts by allowing four SMEs to band together and share the cost of doing one contract between them.

Who is your target audience?

We are specifically targeting PR, marketing and communications agencies with a maximum of ten employees that have been in operation for less than five years.

What is the approximate cost for a consultation per agency through this initiative?

We have set the cost at AED 4,200 per agency. For this, they get a consultation on a one-to-one basis and then we will draft a contract that all four companies can use as their template.

Why should agencies get involved in the programme?

This is a unique opportunity to get access to our lawyers who specialise in this area for a fraction of the usual cost. We are doing this because we believe that the smaller agencies are leading the way with iconic work and truly targeted initiatives for their clients but they don’t always have the cashflow (yet) to employ our services. We want to help them. In addition, we believe that an industry that is strongly focused on doing business ethically and legally is going to assist all of us in the long term.

How would the programme grow from client servicing?

We are already doing a programme of exciting presentations with TMN and we are keen to keep that going – send your ideas to TMN and they will pass them on to us. Ideally, we hope that our chosen four companies take off to become massive success stories – and keep us as their lawyers!

What is the registration process?

TMN will be taking the applications directly and they will then be passing them on to us. You can email if you would like to be considered, but please serious applications only. Payment must be received before your place is secured and a meeting set up.

What kind of legal changes are you hoping to promote and encourage with this initiative?

We are hoping that the industry learns to see media lawyers as trusted facilitators who can help them manage their business towards growth. Working with lawyers early in transactions can assist in clarifying and managing the relationship between clients and suppliers. Clarity in relationships, which is best done with contracts, means that your business (and your staff) will be able to clearly understand your responsibilities – which means less arguments, less payment delays and more repeat business!

Why did you feel the need to launch this initiative in the region?

Although we are lawyers, we are industry lawyers, who feel very much a part of the media business. Plus I do think that newly created SMEs need all the help and support they can get.

Do you foresee any challenges in launching this initiative?

Juggling the needs of four entities will be tricky. People have a tendency to think that we simply ‘replace all’ in contracts but in fact this is not the case. Each business has its own particular way of operating – and very different areas of importance. Some are very wedded to a particular approval process with clients whilst others don’t want to be too specific with approvals. I am already having nightmares about how to juggle contract termination ideas from four different companies!

What does the future hold for the TMN Legal Initiative?

I am hoping to choose one key contract a year and do it again, but let’s take one step at a time!

TMN launches legal initiative for small businesses

The Media Network has partnered with Al Tamimi & Company to launch ‘TMN Legal Initiative’ for small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) within the UAE’s media industry. The programme aims to provide a platform for the smaller agencies to consult media-specialised lawyers at a fraction of the regular cost. With the retainer-fee split between four agencies, the initiative will offer each agency a one-on-one consultation as well as a contract drafted by Al Tamimi & Company that all four companies can use as their template. The first phase of the programme focuses on client services agreements, with more such sub-programmes to be rolled out in the future.

“At The Media Network we have always believed in supporting and encouraging small and upcoming media agencies to find their ground and prosper within the community,” says Michelle Kuehn, Co-Founder and Managing Partner, The Media Network. “We’re thrilled to be working with the renowned Al Tamimi & Company to launch a much-needed legal initiative for SMEs that may not always have the budget for an all-round legal framework.”

“We’re so excited to partner with The Media Network for the TMN legal initiative,” adds Fiona Robertson. “I look forward to helping the smaller agencies grow with our services.”

Five Minute Focus – PR Pressure

Team TMN sits down with Sarah Mohamed, Founder and Director at Secret PR to find out more about the second edition of PR Pressure…

 Tell us a bit about PR Pressure and when it will be held.

Launched in May 2016, PR Pressure is a series of conferences that address the challenges faced in the industry. Topics for the conference are chosen by the target audience to ensure that they’re relevant and up to date. Our aim is to bring media and communications professionals together to share their experiences and help the industry come up with pragmatic solutions for the region. The second edition of PR Pressure will take place on Wednesday, March 1, 2017 at the Metropolitan Hotel, Sheikh Zayed Road.

What is the concept behind the conference?

PR Pressure is a place where everyone’s voice is heard. There are many existing conferences around the region that discuss similar topics and issues, however, speakers are usually redundant and many times, the smaller agencies are under-represented. We cannot grow without acknowledging different professional levels and this serves as a platform for students, freelancers, juniors and seniors to voice themselves.

Did you face any challenges when you launched the event last year?

I think our biggest challenge last year was setting the foundations for PR Pressure. Standing out from other similar platforms and creating a solid brand for PR Pressure was a priority. The team and I had to work on organising the event while also managing our existing clients, it was quite tough to manage our time internally while still maintaining a healthy work/life balance.

Why do you think the Middle East PR industry needs a platform like PR Pressure?

PR Pressure is not just for the suits and ties, it is a casual open discussion where one can ask a question and not feel like they’re the only one who’s not in the know. I feel that the industry needed a platform like this, with a unique environment unlike other such events.

How will 2017’s PR Pressure be different from the first one that was held last year?

Aside from the different topics, we’ve decided to include more people on each panel to better capture the various sectors of our industry. Last year’s attendees requested for more in-house and media insight and that’s something we’ve worked to achieve for this year. Unlike last year’s conference, the sessions in March will also have live English and Arabic interpretation to allow more people to get involved despite our language barriers.

 What will be the topics of discussion at the second edition of the conference?

The topics for the conference are selected keeping in mind the common challenges faced and suggestions from our PR and media circles. There exists a level of uncertainty about the legal aspects of our industry and so this year, one of the sessions, ‘Maintaining proper form’ will feature lawyers who will shed light on the same. The conference will also address other topics such as complexities of the Arabic language and challenges it presents for copywriters as well as the future of PR in the ever-growing digital realm.

Tell us about your target audience.

Our target audience includes media, marketing and communications professionals as well as students who are looking to specialise in these fields. We have partnered with MEPRA and the PRCA this year to try and get more in-house representatives involved. In the future we would like to welcome more attendees from the client side as well – although I’d have to make sure our primary target is open to that first!

What is the reaction you expect following the event?

I am confident that our attendees will love PR Pressure but the real reaction I hope to achieve is proactive change. I want people to take what they learned at PR Pressure and implement it − that is when we will know that PR Pressure was a true success.

Tell us about the key speakers participating at PR Pressure.

We try our best to ensure that we accurately represent the industry in the region and give the audience a greater variety when it comes to speakers. This year we are lucky to have panellists from local, regional and international companies as well as freelancers, journalists, lawyers, consultants and government agencies. The speakers include industry professionals from companies such as Tactics, The Qode, IHC, Al Roeya Newspaper, Digital Ink, Cicero & Bernay, Procter & Gamble, Cedar White Bradley Group, MCG Associates and the Dubai Sports Council.

How does one register to attend the event?

People can register by filling out a form on our website and for group registrations, you can send through delegate and company names to

 What does the future hold for PR Pressure?

Most of the audience and participants of last year’s event said that they wanted more PR Pressures, so we are looking at either increasing the frequency of our conferences or creating other smaller get-togethers through the year. While we haven’t yet thought about expanding into more countries within the region, it is something that we could consider in the future. For now, I would like to focus more on the UAE as there is still so much to be done.