Ex-BizWeek.com EIC Byrne Gives Sneak Preview of Upcoming C-Change Venture

john_byrne_185x250.jpgFormer BusinessWeek.com editor-in-chief John Byrne (photo by Brad Trent) provided a sneak preview of his new C-Change Media venture at a panel discussion hosted at the Horn Group in San Francisco Tuesday night.

C-Change, which Byrne said will launch in May or June, will be an online hub for the “global business professional.”

What I’m trying to create is a content and monetization network for the business audience. It has a mother ship, which is sort of like a HuffPo for business, finance, and economics. That mother ship is surrounded by a whole bunch of owned and operated separate satellites, that are Web sites on their own that serve specific business niches, like doing business in India, doing business in China, MBA’s, entrepreneurship, things like that. Then around each of the satellites is a constellation of bloggers who align with the satellites for the purpose of getting some more coverage, getting more traction than they otherwise would on their own, and getting revenue.

More on the venture, after the jump.

Byrne. who left BusinessWeek in December, said a few of the satellites will launch this spring. More satellites will follow. And then finally the mother ship, which Byrne said will be “a broad-based product, that could compete against a Wall Street Journal, BusinessWeek, or Fortune.”

How C-Change will be staffed

Byrne said each satellite will have its own full-time editor-in-chief. Writers contributing to the satellite or the mother ship will work on a contract or freelance basis. “That has to be the model for the economics to work,” he said. No one has been hired yet, but Byrne, who was also editor-in-chief of Fast Company before moving to BusinessWeek in 2005, said he has writers “lined up.”

On C-Change’s content

Some of the content will be original. Some of it will be curated. And community, he said, will also play a significant role. “One third of it is harvesting community, and connecting their experiences, and their thoughts, and their ideas, at a very high level and meaningful way.”

On funding C-Change

Byrne is currently bootstrapping C-Change with his own money, but he said he’s in talks with venture funders and angel investors. Once C-Change goes live, advertising will provide some of the revenue. But Byrne said advertising can’t do it all anymore, and so C-Change is exploring other revenue sources as well.

On why he thinks C-Change stands a chance

“The business category [online] is less developed than general news, gossip, entertainment, sports, food, women’s service, health,” Byrne told WebNewser. “So there’s a real open road to make something happen here. Smart people can make it happen very easily. The technology costs are low, so the barrier to entry is very low.”

And he added: “Traditional media is blowing it. It doesn’t understand what digital really is. Traditional media isn’t going to invest in online media. That’s why I think there’s a wide open area here. The newcomer has incredible latittude to succeed. The incumbent is disadvantaged every possible way. And that’s why I’m going after it.”