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TVNZ, Show TV challenges sees Telecom drop ShowmeTV brand, register alternative name

Telecom says it's still launching its internet TV service ShowmeTV later this year - but not with that name.

A "pragmatic" decision has been made to abandon the name following public complaints by shopping channel Show Television Limited and its sister company, the retailer Show Me Limited.

Telecom has yet to decide on a new name for the service.

Although a Telecom statement (below) only references Show Me Televison and Show Me, The Intellectual Property Office website also lists an objection filed by TVNZ. 

The state broadcaster - which has an advertising campaign with the tag line "Show Me" - had filed for an extension to give it time to object. It has now dropped the objection, given it has been taken over by events, a spokeswoman told NBR this afternoon.

Spark TV
On February 20, Telecom began the process of registering a trademark for Spark TV - a name that lends itself as a ShowMeTV alternative (at least to a degree; ShowmeTV, or whatever the new internet TV service is finally called, will be open to customers of all ISPs, not just Telecom/Spark).

Auckland University marketing lecturer Dr Bodo Lang from says the decision is disappointing but “no biggie”.

He says it is surprising that Telecom did not do proper due diligence, given that for the Spark name change it had consulted carefully with the sports organization SPARC.

However he says the brand damage is limited because no advertising campaigns have been launched and the name won’t be stuck in consumers’ minds yet.

“This all seems a bit rushed. But with these large companies is once something is approved at board level you have to commit.”

Dr Lang says because Telecom is publicly listed it may have released the name earlier than it wanted to. 

RAW DATA: Telecom statement

Telecom to launch its internet TV and movie service under alternative brand name

Telecom said today it intends to launch its cutting edge internet-delivered TV and movie service later this year under an alternative brand name to ShowmeTV.

Within days of the brand being unveiled on 21 February, two companies that are related to each other, Show Television Limited and Show Me Limited, publicly raised concerns about Telecom’s use of ShowmeTV.

“Although we were aware beforehand of the existence of these other companies and had been following the appropriate trademarking processes in relevant categories, once we heard of their concerns we initiated discussions with them,” said Simon Hoegsbro, senior vice president broadband and digital media, Telecom Digital Ventures.

“While we believe we had the ability to continue with the ShowmeTV brand under the relevant trademark categories, we accept that Show Television and Show Me had some legitimate concerns given their own business. Taking everything into account, and given that we have not yet made any marketing investment in this brand, we didn’t think having a prolonged dispute about the name was in anyone’s interest.

“We’ve therefore made a pragmatic decision to move on and ensure our attention is fully focused on the development and forthcoming launch of our internet TV and movie service. We will be announcing a new name for the service in due course, either before or when we move to commercial launch later this year. The quality of our internet TV offering, not the brand name, will be pivotal to our success.”

Show Television Director and group spokesman, Darryl Clarke, said, “We would like to acknowledge Telecom for taking a pragmatic approach and resolving the situation.”

Mr Hoegsbro commented, “Since we announced our plans just over three weeks ago, we’ve been overwhelmed by the positive reaction from New Zealand consumers and from industry commentators and participants. It’s clear that New Zealanders are thirsting for more choice about how to get their home entertainment and are ready to try new ways to access content over rapidly improving and expanding broadband networks. We are looking forward to sharing more about our plans in the near future.”

More by Victoria Young and Chris Keall

Comments and questions

Hilarious. A combination of arrogance and no due diligence from Telecom colouring in dept = colossal screw up. Now all we need is the 200 companies that have Spark in their name to do same and? ?

marketing 101 fail - announce a name without securing it. Look forward to the Spark challenge!

I think you will find the name was secured and approved. It would be really good if you would read the stories you might be better informed.

With this in mind is there a possibility that Telecom will re-think Spark. There are 421companies on the NZ Companies Office website/register with the name Spark/Sparks or a derivative thereof. The advertising company who thought up this ‘innovative’ name must be laughing all the way to the bank

Perhaps "Telecom" could be a good replacement for "Spark". I understand it won't be conflicted soon.

There must be some marketing folks out there who can weigh in via the annonmity that the comments sections provides.

1) On a scale of 1 - 10, how a big a screw up is this? (From a lay persons point of view, this looks pretty bad, worse even than Telecom's RWC-Sean-Fitzpatrick-chastity-pledge debacle)

2) Is this the fault of Telecom or its external advisers? Who would normally do the due diligence on the new name?

Well, I'm not a marketing person, rather an inhouse lawyer. On anyone's scale this is a 10. Not much else to say. Total amateur hour, as even a grad lawyer would have flagged this one. Perhaps Telecom's inhouse team was either not consulted, or has no teeth. Either way it is very scary, because that would mean the marketing team (i.e. the promoted PA's that couldn't get into HR or H&S) are running things.

I am a marketer and this is complete amatuer hour. OR.....there is more duplicitous agenda at play.

If you have a look at IPONZ now, Telecom has already tried to register SHOWME and SHOWMETV, both of which have been opposed, pressumably by the companies mentioned in here.

Given that checking to see if a brand or product name is already being used globally or in your local market, is basic marketing 101 (why would they even want to used a name so close to something that is already in use!?.....think of something more original kids!), call me cynical, but I suspect they intended to try and sneak it through IPONZ and then were going to force the existing companies to either suck it up, or change their own brands as Telecom by then owned the trademark. At best, they might try and buy the little guys off.

But as the trademark applications have now had multiple opposition and it seems they were unlikely to get them through, they are saving face by front footing the media and "being the good and reasonable guys" and changing the name.

They really dont want more bad press given that the rebrand has already been quite polarising and stired up a lot of interesting commentary.

And lets face it, David versus Goliath stories rarely earn Goliath many PR brownie points

I read somewhere that when management doesn't know what to do they
1. Change the company name.
2. Change the logo.
3. Restructure.

Telecom does all three repeatedly. Vodafone must have a good chuckle.

Petronius Arbiter put it well: "We trained hard—but it seemed that every time we were beginning to form up into teams we were reorganized. I was to learn later in life that we tend to meet any new situation by reorganizing, and what a wonderful method it can be for creating the illusion of progress while actually producing confusion, inefficiency, and demoralisation.”