Timeout at TimeOut Jakarta?

It appears that the TimeOut franchise of entertainment magazine/website that makes money almost elsewhere in the world is not having a good time in Jakarta.

Reporters from the magazine, like refugees fleeing a blight, have been trying to seek employment asylums in some of Jakarta’s newspapers. Others wallow in unemployment. The cause of it, say people in the know, is a simple thing like non-payment of employee’s salaries.

A former TimeOut employee tells Unspun that the magazine’s owner, a foreigner who’s somehow connected to the TimeOut franchise in Beruit, hasn’t been one who regards paying people’s salary on time a matter if importance. Not least because he considers late payment fair pay back for late copies. With a busy traveling schedule he’s seldom in the office, especially around paytime, and as a result staff has had to sometimes do with up to two weeks of not being paid.

The source said that as a result most of the journalists and designers have left the publication, which was launched in jakarta in December, 2008. What’s left is a skeleton staff. Its not know what the fate of the publication will be but vibrant it certainly ain’t.




12 thoughts on “Timeout at TimeOut Jakarta?

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  1. Thanks for spreading the word Unspun. I’m another former Time Out employee and I can also confirm this is true. It’s not just that we were being paid late for many months but we also know the company is out of money and there was no new funding coming in so no way to know if we will get our salary in the future. It was a very bad situation, plus the publisher was treating the employees very poorly so most of us left.

    Readers need to know the November issue (if it comes out) will not be of the usual quality since all of the former editorial and design staff is gone.


  2. wah sayang sekali.. padahal timeout is one hell of a newcomer magazine! even i wish to able to work there..

    well, good luck for its former employee

    best regards,


  3. I was a former employee there too. I can also confirm the story above is true. The conditions were actually worse in reality for the people who worked there. It was emotionally traumatic to say the least. I hope everyone is in a better place now cuz I am.


  4. Any idea actually WHY it looks like Time Out’s going down?
    I would have thought the franchise ought to be a lucrative one in most placs, and Jakarta certainly seems like a place that could support it.

    It seems like there’s a glossy new start-up almost every month in the English language magazine market (wihtout even taking the Indonesian market into account).
    There clearly is ad revenue out there for magazines (being English medium in a place like Jakarta actually gives you very neatly defined – and very top-end – demographics, which is great for selling ad space).

    With its “brand” and its product Time Out should have been very well placed in that respect.

    So what’s been going wrong? Was it just extremely poor practice/bad behaviour from the management? A reluctance to float the boat for the first year or two until incomes stabilised? Or what?
    Also, any idea about what kind of brand-control Time Out head office (whoever/wherever they are) have over leaky franchises? Will they just watch it crash and burn?


    1. There was a clear miss-communication in the management between the owner and the operational director. The owner just wanted to make profits without spending anything while the operational director tried to keep the company afloat by doing what he thinks was best for the magazine, but he loses his argument to what the owner demanded which is profit. Salaries were extremely late but you would see the owner partying with his buddies in Redsquare in Senayan on some nights. Clearly the priority is not on the welfare of his staffs.


  5. It’s a commonly accepted rule of publishing that it takes almost any publication at least 4-5 years before it can hope to even break even. Apparently the publishers of Time Out didn’t know about this if they didn’t even have the funds to pay salaries after less than two years. Ad sales look like they must have been ok, I have that October issue you put a pic up of and there are ads from citibank, telkomsel, and several cigarette ads, including a big thick holographic Dunhil ad sticking out awkwardly. Surely they had money coming in, but not enough in reserve to keep the payroll afloat it seems.

    I bet it was a classic case of somebody trying to start up a publication without any understanding of the local market, expecting instant success and totally unprepared to deal with years of unprofitability.

    It’s a shame because I really enjoyed this magazine, it was certainly a hell of a lot better than most of the other crap English lifestyle mags. Hopefully Time Out HQ moves the brand to another company here that knows what it’s doing.


  6. Ahh, I bought the November issue a few day ago and I was wondering why it looks so terrible, now I know why. Really cheap looking, so many blurry low-res pics and bad articles with no infos. Too bad, used to be a fan, but I won’t buy any more :p


  7. It is definitely Time Out and Time Out Jakarta now.

    The TOJ website, FB and Twitter are all gone.

    Sad. Hopefully another local company will pick up the license…


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