John Byrne, former editor of BusinessWeek.com and Fast Company, is being swept out in Bloomberg’s takeover of the business title.
Like many other media pros, Byrne isn’t looking for another old media structure to save his butt. He’s intent on building something new and hoping, like his fellow entrepreneurs, that he builds something to last.
On his new company’s new blog, C-Change, Byrne explains:
I passionately believe that the future of media is digital and that newcomers have tremendous advantages over incumbents. Most of traditional media remains in a complete meltdown, dragged down by high costs, old ways of thinking, and legacy work processes. As tough as the past three years have been for traditional media, the next three are going to be nothing less than brutal: more closures, greater losses, increasing layoffs of highly talented journalists and editors.
I have three fundamental beliefs that inform my thinking: 1) Print advertising will never come back. There are just too many options for advertisers today and too much pressure on rates. Sadly, success in print will be measured in single-digit declines, forever. 2) Online advertising will never offset those declines nor save print. There’s far too much competition online and far too much available inventory; and 3) Users will not pay for content, unless they’re convinced it has immediate and tangible value. Very little journalism meets that standard today.
C-Change will “be a network of niche products for the business audience with an emphasis on mobile applications,” says Byrne. Sounds good, but how will it make money? If options one and two are out, it must be time for content with “immediate and tangible value.”