CultureMap: The Texas sized media company with universal appeal
If you look at the list of fastest growing cities in the United States, you may be surprised to find that many are in Texas. From Dallas to Houston, Austin, San Antonio, and others the Lone Star State is booming. As the population skyrockets, Texas continues to bolster its reputation as one of the United State’s economic powerhouses. However, chances are if you’re not from Texas, you may not know about CultureMap. The brainchild of Nic Phillips and Lonnie Schiller launched its first publication in 2009 and was intended to cover the burgeoning art, society, and restaurant scenes in Houston. Since then, CultureMap has been bought twice. First by ViewMarket in 2015 for $15 million, and most recently by Gow Media in early 2017 for an undisclosed amount. This partnership of Gow and CultureMap has created a strategic media alliance serving over 8 million people throughout all major cities in Texas.
“The combination of Gow Media assets and CultureMap creates one of the largest media companies based in Texas.”
-Gow Media CEO, David Gow
CultureMap has attracted a loyal following for its coverage of food, fashion, society, real estate, arts, entertainment, and other lifestyle topics in five Texas cities. This combined with David Gow’s reputation as one of the best incubators of sports radio talent in Texas creates a dynamic union which appeals to people of all interests.
CultureMap began working with Gow Media in 2016 to plan the companies’ Big Texas Party for Super Bowl week, which was attended by more than 1,500 people! Throughout this process, it became apparent that the duo was a match made in Cowboy Heaven. “Our teams worked very well together on all aspects of the event, including planning, marketing, and sales,” CultureMap CEO Robert Bennett said. “Over time, it became apparent that we could accomplish more together than we could operating independently.” Putting into effect the old maxim, “Two is always better than one.”
“We recognize the brand has a strong following that is passionately engaged and we want to do everything we can to preserve that connection”
-Gow Media CEO, David Gow
Gow Media owned two radio stations prior to acquiring CultureMap. The combined company will be able to share content across different platforms, cross-promote, create bigger events, and provide larger-scale packages for advertisers. The company plans to invest in software upgrades to enhance the user experience on CultureMap and Gow hinted that sports will return to the mix on the site. “There’s a strong intersection between sports and lifestyle content; we definitely see an opportunity to introduce sports content to the CultureMap reader,” Gow stated. CultureMap Marketing Director, Jessica Baldwin continued by saying, “The Big Texas Party was the first of many events in which we will combine the power of sports and lifestyle content.”
After the deal was finalized, Gow realized that “This is a strong, strategic step for our company. We are gaining a beloved brand with a loyal following that has a reputation for creating quality content. And we are expanding our digital reach significantly, with the addition of localized sites across Texas and a large social media presence. We can now offer advertisers more demographic diversity, more platforms, and more total audience reach.” If that’s not the name of the game in advertising, I don’t know what is.
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This Untold Business story shows the importance of appealing to your local market and emphasizing quality over quantity. Gow Media may in time expand to other states, however, by focusing on “Home Sweet Texas”, Gow has been able to build a very loyal following. Particularly in a state such as Texas, where there is a booming economy and population, it has made sense for the company not to bite off more than it can chew, but instead focus on providing the best possible content to its loyal, local fanbase. Heading to Texas anytime soon? Be sure to check out CultureMap and maybe even swing by one of their sports/art/lifestyle events. There’s sure to be appeal for all!
July 5th, 2018| By TJ Malman- Untold Business Writer