Golant Media Ventures will merge with The Audience Agency’s enterprise arm as the sector support organisation strengthens its focus on technology.

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Arts sector support organisation The Audience Agency is joining forces with Golant Media Ventures (GMV), an innovation agency working across the creative, cultural, digital and public sectors. 

Together they hope to drive innovation in the cultural sector and help arts organisations increase their reach and resilience.

GMV will formally merge with the organisation’s enterprise subsidiary, The Audience Agency Services. Its CEO Patrick Towell will become Executive Director of the trading company and Innovation Director of The Audience Agency itself.

Towell said he hopes the merger will help remove the barriers to sharing innovations between the arts, culture and heritage, the creative industries, digital economy and the public sector.

“They are facing similar challenges, have many people in common and have much to learn from each other – and yet they struggle to translate innovations between them,” he said. “Together, we can be the translators to help leaders and their teams through turbulent times and complex change.

“I’m excited by the opportunity to foster innovation across The Audience Agency group – and to lead its enterprise subsidiary to generate the profits and ventures that will enable it to thrive and deliver its charitable aims.”

The merger comes as The Audience Agency becomes one of Arts Council England’s new Sector Support Organisations, securing ongoing funding for its national database and insight programme Audience Finder. 

It has appointed a new Chair, Matt Locke, who will oversee the merger. Locke has experience in new technology, media and the arts, having led innovation projects at the BBC and Channel 4, before starting digital content agency Storythings in 2011.

GMV has previously worked with Arts Council England and arts organisations including the Royal Opera House and Redruth-based Miracle Theatre. As well as advising on the creation of new products and services, it helps organisations develop their business models.

It has been working with The Audience Agency for the past few years on projects across strategy, change, design thinking and data-driven innovation. Writing in AP this week, Towell described a project helping arts workers access and interpret data collected by The Audience Agency via an online ‘chatbot’. 

A photo of Frances Richens