Peter Kafka

Recent Posts by Peter Kafka

Ex-BizWeek Editor John Byrne’s New Company Has a Name, but No Product

john_byrne_185x250In the wake of Bloomberg’s purchase of BusinessWeek, longtime BW veteran John Byrne is leaving his job running the company’s Web site and will start his own thing instead.

What is that thing? Well, it has a name, Byrne says today in a blog post: “C-Change.”

So what will it do? Byrne doesn’t want to say much, except that it will have something to do with digital media, specifically mobile stuff:

It’s too early to tell everyone what our first products will be, but I do envision more than a single platform. It will be a network of niche products for the business audience with an emphasis on mobile applications.

Okay. That sounds good. In the meantime, here’s Byrne’s pithy description of the state of media today, which happens to dovetail pretty nicely with mine. And reading it might save you a couple of days of panel-watching.

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. Do we really need 57 versions of a story on Bernie Madoff pleading guilty?

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The problem with the Billionaire Savior phase of the newspaper collapse has always been that billionaires don’t tend to like the kind of authority-questioning journalism that upsets the status quo.

— Ryan Chittum, writing in the Columbia Journalism Review about the promise of Pierre Omidyar’s new media venture with Glenn Greenwald