My friend Esther Kezia Thorpe, whom I met in a London rooftop pub a few years ago when she interviewed me, makes some interesting observations here. But I think the survival or death of Airbnb magazine will rise or fall like any other publication: on its excellence or the lack therein and of course the uniqueness of the information provided. There are unlimited travel information opportunities everywhere in print and on-line. What separates success from failure are the rarities and qualities of the information provided combined with the format that the information resides upon. Digital is relatively cheap to produce and to sustain, and it has the advantage of being accessible literally everywhere at any time. Even inferiorly produced printed products, which Airbnb won't be, are quite the opposite as they are relatively expensive to produce and distribute. So, the chance of survivability many times depends upon the expense to produce the product. Hearst is not known for half-way measures, so I expect that Airbnb with have both editorial and production excellence. That doesn't assure success, but it does offer a reasonable chance for one.
Esther states that a possible problem for continued success is the mixed message between the two lead agents in the projects. She points out that: "A far more serious issue at the heart of Airbnb mag is the vast gulf between the two companies' views on the purpose of the magazine. Compare these two statements from Chesky and Coles on how important revenue on the magazine is to them:
'From my point of view it's successful if more people experience Airbnb and talk about it.'- Airbnb Chief Executive Brian Chesky
'I want to make money.' - Hearst Chief Content Officer Joanna Coles"
I respectfully don't agree with Esther's conclusion about the confusion of purpose. If the magazine is excellent, it doesn't matter what the Airbnb chief executive's agenda is, which isn't wrong by the way. His desired mission of increased public exposure for Airbnb will be a direct result of the magazine's success. In fact, they will both be right. Success in the magazine business is measured by both dollars and branding opportunities.
My experience tells me that behind the scene drama is irrelevant if it doesn't surface in the final product of an excellent and addictive magazine. I have no idea if Airbnb will be a successful product, but based on the known data, it could be.