Be careful about how you spend your money on print advertising. Brand Atlas core data has started to come in and we did a quick analysis of where consumers are going to get content for the magazine categories they are interested in. (by the way, the average number of sources of content across the categories is 3.1)

Across the 15 categories we probed, the internet is the primary source of content for all categories but one, namely “entertainment, celebrities and gossip” where TV narrowly beats the internet. In not one of the categories do printed magazines come out tops, but they do fare better in some categories than in others.

The only 5 categories where printed magazines come fairly close to the internet as a category content source, are “home décor and gardening”, “farming”, “female interest (fashion beauty etc)”, “cooking and home entertaining” and “motoring”. But even in these categories the internet still has a significant lead.

The categories where the internet is very far ahead of printed magazines are “business”, “sports and hobbies”, “finance and investment”, “science and technology” and even “travel”.

There is no doubt that printed magazine publishers are being eaten alive by the internet, but what strategic options do they have? Assuming that shutting up shop is out of the question, the only option must be for them to go fully digital. You can’t beat them so you have to join them. Create a beautiful website, attract free subscriptions with compelling content, develop an app and get it onto every smart phone in the country and embark on a social media strategy designed to engage with readers in a two way dialogue in order to win their hearts and minds.

Not an easy ask, but that’s the sort of approach that is necessary for magazine publishers to survive.

Brand Atlas will be completed by the end of the month, and we would love the opportunity to show you the full story about print media and where it’s headed.