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Telecom changing name to Spark, entering TV market

Telecom [NZX: TEL] is changing its name to Spark.

NBR understands Saatchi Worldwide has been working on the brand relaunch.

Telecom has put up a website promoting the name change. The starburst logo (already nicknamed "the spark") will remain.

On a conference call, CEO Simon Moutter said the relaunch would be around mid-year.

$20 million has been budgeted for the rebrand, which will also see Telecom's Gen-i services division become Spark Digital Solutions.

TV launch
The two other non-financial highlights of Telecom's earnings release this morning were that it's launching its own "high quality" internet TV service, branded ShowmeTV, and a boost in mobile numbers.

"ShowmeTV will be accessible to non-Telecom customers," spokeswoman Lucy Fullarton told NBR. 

That's a big move, and a key move. Opening ShowmeTV to customers of all ISP addresses the problem of scale (raised by NBR as a key issue after Telecom dissolved its low-key marketing alliance with Sky TV earlier this month). The likes of Netflix or HBO would be unlikely to align with Telecom if its TV service was limited to the 50% or so of the retail market controlled by the telco. Depending on the resources Telecom throws at ShowmeTV, and the breadth of content it secures, the new service could provide Sky TV with its first true competition - particularly if Telecom expands it alliance with Coliseum Sports Media, owner of PremierLeaguePass.com. Coliseum has already shown interest in bidding for All Blacks rights when they next come up in 2015.

Mr Moutter has previously told NBR that setup boxes are going the way of the dinosaur. Like many, he saw so-called "over-the-top" content (TV shows and movies delivered over a broadband internet connection to a television) as the future.

On a conference call, the CEO said content deals were currently under discussion. For competitive reasons Telecom won't comment further before Showmetv's official launch, he said.

Enough money on the table?
ICT Minister Amy Adams and InternetNZ were both quick to praise Telecom's entry into the TV market.

Content delivered over fibre, or a fast DSL connection, is seen as a driver of broadband uptake - and Sky TV's hold on key sports, premium TV series and new release movie content has been seen as preventing new market entrants from gaining a critical mass of content. Sky TV has the technology to hook up its decoders to fibre, but no commercial incentive to do so at its current pricing, let alone offer a killer-price broadband and content bundle.

Yet while the concept of ShowmeTV is exciting, and Telecom has a lot more financial muscle that squirts like Quickflix and Ezyflix, for the moment the new service seems to be a tipping-toes-in-the-water exercise.

Mr Moutter told NBR the budget for ShowmeTV this year was $20 million; around 75% in that in op-ex; the balance in programming costs. To compete in full blooded fashion with Sky TV, Telecom will have to ramp up that spend. Last year, Sky TV spent $289 million on programming (of total expenses of $666 million).

And becoming a compelling alternative to Sky TV is what ShowmeTV has to do to make a splash. Viewers who just want to dabble in over-the-top content already have plenty of local alternatives, including Quickflix, Ezyflix, the film and TV content on Apple TV NZ (and the readily accessible Apple TV further afield), plus the US-based giant Netflix within easy reach (not to mention those using the Torrents).

ShowmeTV will have 5,000 hours of content across all genres when it launches, Telecom says.

That compares to the 60,000 films, television programmes, documentaries and sporting titles held by ASX-listed Quickflix, and is dwarfed by the content on California-based Netflix - and Mr Moutter used the phrase that Telecom wants to create "the Netflix of New Zealand", raising the prospect of all-you-can-eat viewing for a set low cost per month (Netflix costs from $US7.99 a month).

The bind is that sophisticated users already use over-the-top services, and average punters won't pay for an OTT service like ShowmeTV, with a sub-selection of content, on top of their Sky TV bill. Or at least it's a tough sell, as Quickflix slow progress in NZ, and Telecom and TVNZ's failure with the TiVo Caspar on-demand service shows.

Mobile gains
Telecom - which made a net gain of 92,000 mobile subscribers in the first half, said it made a full-year gain of 200,000 for a total of around 1.92 million. Vodafone recently said it had 2.29 million total mobile customer connections. Privately-held 2Degrees has never reported in detail on customer numbers, and has not provided a big-picture update since August 2012, when it claimed 1 million customers.

Telecom's mobile subscribers topped 2 million in the first half of 2012 before the shutdown of its old CMDA network and a "reset" of the numbers saw total mobile customer mobile connections fall to 1.72 million in the second half of that year. It has been on a recovery track since.

In its numbers released today, Telecom says it has 948,000 customers on contract (vs 908,000 in the prior six months), and 967,000 on prepay (vs 895,000).

Average revenue per user (ARPU) fell from $54.84 in the prior half to 53.89 for mobile customers on contract. Telecom Retail CEO Chris Quin says the fall reflects the fact more customers are now buying their own phones, with the upside being lower handset subsidies.

Pre-pay ARPU rose from $11.92 to $12.01.

Total mobile customer ARPU fell from $33.55 to $32.78., but mobile revenue rose 5.8% overall to $487 million as 108,000 new customers came onboard.

Mr Quin said his company held the line in fixed broadband, with around 50% market share.

Profit edges up, Ebitda falls
The company reported a profit for the six months to December up 2.5% to $167 million.

Forsyth Barr senior equities analyst Blair Galpin had been expecting around $165 million., while Goldman Sachs had estimated $154 million. For the same period last year Telecom made $163 million.

Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation from continuing operations fell 5.8 percent to $452 million, while operating revenue from its remaining business slipped 3 percent to $1.85 billion.

While there were modest gains in mobile and IT services revenue, voice calling continued its inexorable decline, and a competitive fixed line market saw broadband revenue dip.

Read NBR's full report on Telecom's earnings here.

Telecom shares [NZX:TEL] were down 2.69% to $2.35 in early trading.

ckeall@nbr.co.nz

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Comments and questions
114

http://www.theonion.com/video/hp-on-that-cloud-thing-that-everyone-else-... Basically that video explains the corporate strategy - how many buzzwords and logos can you use to try and prop up an incumbent?

I wonder about this - when I started at tcom 10 years ago they were working on VOD, it never happened. I doubt it'll turn into anything worthwhile now.

For a start all the good content is already locked down with exclusive deals - this is why quickflix has nothing worth watching.

then there's the motivation for launching the service - it isnt to innovate or give customers a reason not to leave (god alone knows why anyone is staying given the train wreck that is xtra/yahoo). Telecom are launching VOD because Vodafone have pay tv.

Trouble is Telecom need decent content - that is what makes pay tv worth watching. I think they'll either re-broadcast sky or struggle to attract viewers.

Then there's the rename to spark - how much money have they spent on this new brand already? Focus on getting your core business right and keeping your existing customers happy.

A new name wont stop the ship from sinking

The spark-gap radio is the oldest type of radio transmitter (invented 1888). It is now illegalbecause it chews up bandwidth and can only send information by Morse code.
For a telecommunications company to call itself "Spark" is a bit like an airline calling itself "Hot air ballon"

Another waste of money changing the name. How many millions is it going to take to change the paper heads etc...company logos. Why not just wipe the fee you charge if we are over the pay now date. $18 is damn ridiculous. I have been a customer of Telecom for as long as I can remember and a name change is not going to make any difference. Wake up....

Bothy my daughter and myelf think the mane change is a futile waste of time and money. "Telecom"is well known and states the base function of the company the name change will not enhance the image of the company

I dont know why you would ditch one of NZ best and most well know brands. Sure they have had some issues but why change to a brand anyone over 50 will never understand.

I'm one of the team that worked on this at Telecom. Yes this is a big call but our customers are already seeing a very different Telecom to that of even a year ago. Fibre, 4G, Wifi, flat rate roaming, new business hubs across the country and our OTT announcement today are just some of the initiatives that means the Telecom brand no longer reflects where we are heading - or even arguably where we are today.

We will be working bloody hard to ensure that this move sees us keeps all of our existing customers and inspires a whole bunch more to join us too.

So what if it is a 'different' Telecom from a year ago? Still think it is a dumb move that won't get me my broadband any cheaper.

I can understand needing to change the brand as you move away from 'telecom' type services but then why does the OTT not have 'spark' in its name. - ShowmeTV appears to have nothing to do with the telecom or the spark brand.

We looked at using Spark but because this is a new category that we are entering and the service will be able to be purchased by all of New Zealand (not just Spark customers) we decided to have a new brand to ensure there wasn't any confusion
In saying this - the team are working on a strong differentiated proposition that would be exclusive to Spark customers.

New category we are entering?? What video on demand that anyone with a broadband connection can buy? Erm you are a late entrant in a crowded market where all the good content has already been taken. Please tell us what content will magically make this VOD service so atttractve? WIll it work on tivos? Maybe you can move the 35,000 units still sitting in that south auckland wharehouse.

You say you want to remove confusion - yet you add to it by trashing a decades old brand.

Strong differentiated proposition - what utter BS - you are following vodafone

Hi there. I meant that it's a new category for us - agreed that video delivered over the internet is nothing new internationally or here in NZ ( I started TVNZ ondemand when I was at TVNZ). And yes it all comes down to the quality of the content, how easy it is to access it on any device and the price point.

In regards to Voda - yes they already have a TV play but it's just reselling SKY for a discount.

All successful brands and companies keep evolving it doesn't mean they need to change their name. In fact by evolving that does more to reflect what their brand stands for than any name change.
What gives consumers confidence is a name that they are familiar with and continues to meet or exceed customer expectations.

I would agree, Michael. Telecom is only highlighting its insecurities, in damning contrast to the likes of Vodafone.

I bought a house where I was told I would have to use Telecom. Joined them, swore about them frequently, and then found I could get 2 degrees ...wonderful...out of Telecoms clutches again. Even though I bought a Hotspot as do not want a landline I found huge ignorance about it and billing mistakes....from Telecom. Call yourselves whatever you like....doesn't change a thing.

Given the number of namecallers finding fault with everything telecom is doing or has ever done, i reckon the more people saying the new name sux, the more they need to change

Hey Jo. We think we have changed quite a bit over the last 12 months - better prices, more data in our plans, rolling out free WiFi and 4G etc and our people are some of the best (in my opinion) but as you say we don't always get it right. I think you'll find we are way better now and will continue to get even better over the next 12 months.

Always leaves me shaking my head in disbelief that companies change their brand names/packaging etc, because some so called marketing -whizz kid thinks its a great idea and wants to leave a legacy to their ego. For example, many families (read people) have purchased certain brands that come in familar packaging for maybe generations. Then some dork comes along and changes the packaging and/or brand and all of a sudden you can't find that same product (in the same familar packaging), on the supermarket shelf anymore. A product that you have been buying for years and probably first purchased by your grandmother a generation or two, before. So what do you do..?? Well, you purchase another product that does the job equally as well and in a heartbeat, that company that once had your family's loyalty for generations has, in an instance, lost your business for ever. Extrapolate that example over 100,000's customers (or, maybe millions)...well, you do the math,

It's not what they're called, it's what they're going to be doing. Look out SkyTV, because murder is approaching.

April 1.
Telecom has a vast legacy, and it's not all bad. Meanwhile the company is transforming admirably, and on course to return to admired status. Their core business is fat fast unrestricted data pipes over a variety of mediums, and they are getting there.

However changing the name is not a transformational act, and a hype name like Spark gives negative confidence in the firm to deliver reliability - a core part of their service. To me it's a capture by internal or external marketing folks, and gives them an excuse to waste hundreds of millions that could better be spent on delivering simplified core offerings.

Lance, thanks for your recognition that Telecom is changing and changing fast. We're very proud of our heritage, but we think we can get to where our customers want us to be faster as Spark. And hundreds of millions is a huge overstatement, we've disclosed to the market that the name change will be a one-off cost of around $20m mostly in signage etc. small fraction of the $3 Billion we incur in annualised costs ...

sorry, last comment by anon was from me - I'm GM of Corporate Relations at Telecom and have been part of the team workiing on the Spark project.

"but we think we can get to where our customers want us to be faster as Spark" how on earth can credit a rebranding exercise with achieving this

Hey Lance - you know me - and I can tell you that we have plenty of substance behind this. As you have said we are transforming ourselves admirably and the pace at which customers have reacted has been excellent. However there are still key, fast growing customer segments that tell us they will always just out right reject the Telecom brand - regardless of all of the great things that we have done and will continue to do for them in the market.

Everyone here is focused 100% on getting this right for our customers - simplified core offerings and a clear return on this investment are key components of this plan.

All well and good,Jason but the choice of name,no doubt the result of deep research based on the rebranding of companies like Orange,Vector,Tru-Move,DTAC and many others,is simply the wrong selection.
A spark is a short circuit,a wayward current.Our excitement over seeing a spark derives from it's danger.Even "lightening' would have been better,although judging from your past discrepancies between promised speeds and actual consumer experience,perhaps not.

What an utterly stupid idea. This guy's paid millions to dream up a name a 5 year old could come up with? Sack him!!!

Typical, throwing baby out with bathwater, bold yes smart no. Afraid it's not quite good enough for anyone involved except maybe the marketing folks whom got this project.

Is it April already?

Showtime will only be a success if the content is good. Otherwise it will flop like there last attempt

Trev, it's Showme not Showtime! completely agree that content is pivotal; that's been a big focus of us. Watch for more details soon.

Telecom. Datacom. American Telegraph and Telephone. Watercare. IBM. These sort of brands give me feelings of large, permanent, perhaps slightly austere companies.

Spark? Does Spark care about my VDSL uptime, or treat my internet connection with the same importance as electricity or water? I have no idea.

I agree. My view is that they're deliberately distancing themselves from that sort of identity. It's still heavily tied to the SOE legacy. Even when buoyed with some (pretty successful) fresh new ads, it's actually too strong and too tied to the community for the Board's liking.

Personally, I think the transformation from the very dark days of the 90s to today (especially the Tina Symmans era) has been miraculous. They survived their ultra-lame attempt to out-cool Vodafone in mobile 10 years ago, and now rightly or wrongly have the prevailing reputation for quality in the market. I think they owe Tina and Alan Gourdie a few thanks there.

My guess is that they want to get right away from the "NZ's telco" image and heritage - what could their endgame possibly be?

I had to double-check the date to make sure it wasn't 1st April already. What a ridiculous name change.
As for the logo, I have never heard anyone refer to it as the spark - 'scribble' always seemed more appropriate.

Telecom's brand people have always referred to the logo as the "spark"

yep, correct. And we have had Spark registered as a trademark ever since we launched the current logo in 2009.

For the purposes of my comment internal branding/marketing staff obviously don't count. The public, when referring to it at all, appear to use terms like 'doodle' and 'scribble'.
A quick google indicates 'telecom logo scribble' has about 40% more hits than 'telecom logo spark'.
To me 'spark' on its own connotes an ephemeral thing, a 'flash in the pan', something transient. Quite the opposite of the values Telecom hopes to promote.

It is not what it means to brand people, it is what it means to the public. Marketing is about the consumer, not the brand people.

While this company has been underperforming for virtually its entire existence, this idiotic gimmick is surely a signal that it's now in terminal decline.

It sounds like the execs at Telecom towers have been drinking too much [url="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Drinking_the_Kool-Aid"]Kool Aid[/url] and are believing too much of their own hype with regards to this rebranding exercise.

... and what about the new generation of customers who see Telecom as nothing more than a relic from the past.. something that their old folks use?

Isn't that why you create sub brands such as Skinny??

I for one back Telecom's decision to re-brand. It's bold and they've got nothing to lose. I mean c'mon - what pictures conjure in the mind when you hear the word "Telecom"

- dinosaur
- antequated
- monopoly

If they are going to try and shake up their business model and survive in this brave new world, then in my opinion they need a rebranding to go along with that new strategy. Whether Spark is the right name or not, I'm not sure, but my first impression is that it's solid.

I agree. France Telecom moved to Orange, British Telecom to BT. Pretty good idea.

I don't think of any of those words when some says "Telecom" or "Coca-Cola". *rolls eyes*

For a business whose success is based on an inherited incumbent position this is either boldly transformational - or idiotically risky. Given the undifferentiated commodity nature of their services, poor customer service and dependence on customer inertia to sustain revenues, it would appear to be the latter.

Saatchis must be loving this one

Absolutely especially given there is a Digital Media company in the form of Spark PHDIQ which has been around for a while. Saatchi have ruined it for their brand now. Spark works in the Digital Media industry, Not so much - a "Telco".

Changing one of New Zealand's most recognised brands is a little bizarre to say the least. But I guess marketing departments need to justify their existence so these strange things happen and we all get used to them in the end.

What I don't get though is going through a massive rebrand and then launching a service that doesn't reference that brand: showmeTV -really? What exactly has this to do with a unified brand under the Spark name?

James, the reason why ShowmeTV is a separate brand is that we are making this available to all New Zealanders, not just our customers. ie you dont need to be a Telecom (Spark) customer to buy Showme.
our branding strategy will have Spark at its core but with specialist brands for particular products (e.g. ShowmeTV, Revera for data hosting) and flanking brands for market segments (e.g. Skinny mobile, Bigpipe broadband).

Will I be able to get it on the Tivo you sold me a couple of years ago when you promised it was the future of television?

But you don't have to be a telecom landline customer to be a telecom mobile customer.

Why so many brands?

I'm one of the team that worked on this at Telecom. Yes this is a big call but our customers are already seeing a very different Telecom to that of even a year ago. Fibre, 4G, Wifi, flat rate roaming, new business hubs across the country and our OTT announcement today are just some of the initiatives that means the Telecom brand no longer reflects where we are heading - or even arguably where we are today.

We will be working bloody hard to ensure that this move sees us keeps all of our existing customers and inspires a whole bunch more to join us too.

NIce Work glad to see we are moving towards the 21 century .... now give Chorus the southern cross cable that you hide in nefarious Bermuda holdings companies to hide it from the seperation

There are pros and cons to the re-brand (drop the dinosaur image, but have to spend millions to re-educate people on a new brand), but what is plainly retarded is that Telecom has continued the long trend of corporates paying advisors like Satchi millions to consult on re-brand strategy, when they're too dumb or lazy as consultants to secure key IP before the announcement. Telecom doesn't own the twitter handle @sparknz, they don't own spark.net.nz, they don't own sparknz.com. They only have one secured domain name (spark.co.nz), which will be useless and contested when NZ Moves to second level domain registrations this year, meaning Telecom will have to pay millions more to secure key IP than if they'd done it by stealth. Dumb, dumb, dumb. Will the next corporate to do a rebrand pay me the fees instead of Satchi next time they undertake something like this please?

Looks to me like another example of the uninformed marketing tail wagging the dog. Yes, they might act quickly and decisively... but that's mostly because they don't do their homework, don't plan, and don't consider the consequences. "Strong but wrong".

The team think we have this under control and that we’ve got all of the online real estate we need and left the fine print (or in this case, fine URLs, twitter handles etc) to the lawyers, who we believe have done an excellent job too. Of course you can’t always secure them all, for example this one www.spark.com – but hey, we’re all about connecting people, so there’s a general synergy there….”

Something nobody's ever explained to me is how it's appropriate for to have an uncontested, long-term, multi-million dollar relationship with an ad agency, whose CEO happens to be on the Board.

I always feel like I'm on drugs whenever I think about it. Is it just me?

Typically a 'Spark' burns brightly for a short period then fades away. I would have suggested 'Beam' but no one asked me :)

hahaha..... you are 100% correct.

I'm sure Spark is meant to represent an "Idea".

But idea's are 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration.

So I hope they can continue to deliver on the 99% bit as a current customer.

...and as I read elsewhere - Spark spelt backwards is...

No 'brand-cuffs', eh... I've seen (and even been part of) businesses that have thrown away a lot of brand value because new people in marketing a) were too bolshy and got their way without first understanding the business and earning respect, and b) wanted to make their mark without considering the value proposition to the business as a whole. In all cases I'm thinking of, dark times followed.

A 'Spark' burns brightly for a short period then fades away. I would have offered 'Beam' as a better brand name, but no one asked me :)

Let's be honest - this change had to come. Telecom is a company with a business model that was born in a different time. If that company is to survive (let alone grow and flourish), then it needs to transform itself. The word "Telecom" is tied to its past, from a time where they made money from providing services that a new generation of customers don't even use now.

In fact, the innovation that they do exhibit and their willingness to push forward is undone in my opinion simply because it's hidden behind the name "Telecom". Their current brand alone undoes so much of the good will they would otherwise build for themselves.

There will be fuss, just as there always is. Remember the great debate over BNZ when they decided to shorten their name down? Exactly - hardly anyone does, because people accept it and move on.

This change probably should have happened when Chorus was spun out - Chorus is the telco company since it owns the telco lines. Chorus should have retained Telecom with Telecom getting the big rebrand as it moved into the brave new world.

Billing systems etc probably meant this didn't happen.

I agree with Harvey as some-one who is over the age of 50 years of age, I still do not understand why I have to get a Freeview box to watch TV

I agree with Sharewatcher above it is what a company does and how well it does it, that counts rather than its brand name, esp in NZ.
I realise it was connected with a different geographic market but how many people were like me and had to Google "Camper" to find out what the name on Team NZ's boat was all about ?
Telecom / Spark provides a service --just do that right and efficiently and call the company what you like, it doesn't matter but if you do it wrong and inefficiently and it won't matter how much Saatchi (or whoever) is paid , it will be waste of time.

Regardless of what you think about marketing folks, Telecom changing their name is a good idea. Telecom are changing in terms of the services that they are offering but staying with the same name they risk being unable to move away from the perception that people have of them.

John Campbell and Paul Henry will have a marvellous time on their respective TV shows as they interview Simon Mouter over his ridiculous name change for Telecom. I hope Simon is well prepared to do battle. As a long time shareholder in Telecom I am appalled that the CEO could make such a decision: he should be replaced.

This is Mr Moutter desperately trying to shed his image as a leader without any flair or imagination or any plan beyond cost cutting.

There is a thin line between quirky and tragic. Telecom have crossed that line.

Couldn't agree more

So which "Bright Spark" came up with this idea? - just saying what everyone is thinking!
joking aside, this is a brave decision by Telecom and great to see the NZ risk adverse ethos being thrown aside to challenge the current market dynamics. The other players will now need to equally raise their game as well, so it will interesting to see how this plays out over the coming year. Hopefully increased competition in this market will reduce consumer prices and increase service quality.

I think it's probably a good move. There is a lot of baggage with the Telecom name (especially with the hundreds/thousands of ex-employees who suffered through so many restructures over the years under previous management teams -- I am not one, but experienced the fallout). Other baggage words include monopoly, greedy, archaic and slow to respond to consumer demands (<-- Really, why? You are a leader. So lead.) The external brand can change easily. And that's a shareholder decision, so no amount of bleating about it will change that. What's important though is authenticity -- the internal culture, strong management and a genuine desire to kick a$$ in the market -- to match the new external brand. You help that by being innovative, responsive and open (among other things). Seeing Telecom staff (Jason, Andrew, et al) front up and discuss this openly in this forum is perhaps a sign that significant internal change has already happened, with more to come. Exciting times for the Telecom team. Good luck.

I think rebrandingis a good move. The folks who might like the Telecom brand because its all they've ever known are unlikely to switch to a third provider. It's inertia, not brand loyalty, that keeps them with Telecom, and they will be no more likely to switch.

On the other hand, for those who do care a litle more, it is a clear statement of intent that they are shaking off their origins as a government-department-come-corporate-monopoly.

Moreover, as time goes by there will be fewer and fewer people in the first camp, and they will be less lucrative than your double, triple, quadruple play customers.

In other news, Air New Zealand is about to rebrand themselves to "Giggle" as they feel their business model has now moved more towards the entertainment category.

I think changing the company name is a great idea. For a start the word Telecom is too close to 'telecommunications', an old-fashioned term for infrastructure which is obsoleted by the move to services and odd given that the infrastructure bit is now a separate company in Chorus. Then there's all the baggage of past CEOs and their reactive strategies and the reputational issues that linger despite having been replaced with what appears a proactive strategy delivering some good products.

But the difficult trick that any rebrand has to carry off is taking all the good bits while leaving the bad bits. In this case the good bits would be things like competence, scale, comprehensiveness of offering, etc. On first impressions 'spark' doesn't seem to have taken any of that good stuff with it and the new stuff it conveys at the moment is a bit thin.

I don't care about what they call themselves (in fact it is probably a good change).

All I care about is performance - how they deliver. And in my experience, re-branding too often means an organisation takes their eye off the ball.

Seems like a huge risk to me...Entering the TV market...anyone say TIVO?...How did that work out?
Launching a $20 million rebrand and marketing campaign when Telecom don't even have a CMO (I maybe wrong on that), seems a little crazy - I think NBR reported that the Head of Brand and Communications has just left Telecom...so who is leading it?...The COO?...If Seeby's comments are correct this will be a train wreck...maybe Mr Paris could confirm if telecom has secured the IP mentioned?...Call me old fashioned but fantastic customer service. great products and very competitive pricing are more important to me than a name change.

Sounds like the wet behind the ears marketing wiz kids have conned Simon and the Board into chucking away a brand name that has been part of the Kiwi lexicon for the past three decades.

Time will tell but most customer over 40/45 will still call it Telecom know it as Telecom and think of it as Telecom.

Still in 30 years time when we are pushing up the daisies yet another bunch of 20s wiz kids will persuade the then CEO and Board to ditch Spark for................................. Telecom

The more things change the more they stay the same as the philosopher said.

Good to see the guy behind it (Jason) coming out defeneding it , kudos for that. If I was betting my career it is always better to make something new than just ride along on the same old. This is really a low risk play as it is just a name any way. Oh and everyone thought Fonterra was naf when they changed also. I am a Telecom customer and I have to say I have never had any probs with them.

Of course this has nothing at all to do with Telstra possibly buying Telecom NZ http://delimiter.com.au/2014/01/14/telstra-buy-telecom-nz/

If ShowMe delivers HD and content that consumers want on demand, services/data caps and other delivery stand out from their competitors we will all be wondering what the fuss was about.

If Spark doesn't deliver then it will be for nought - it's a brave, risky move from a company that hasn't had the best track history with stumbles like XT, making bad calls like CDMA but look forward to seeing them achieve something that potentially is v cool and adds value to us, the consumers of not just telco but of content.

You could probably fix the extra email service for 20m... that would do more for me...

"A rose by any other name would smell as sweet" is commonly quoted dialogue from a play I wrote a while back called Romeo and Juliet, in which Juliet argues that the names of things do not matter, only what things "are" . I think I my observation was correct when I first wrote those words - and I think that history has proven me right ever since.

"All the perfumes of Arabia will not sweeten this little hand."

Let's hope that Moutter doesn't live to regret it, after he takes the knife and plunges it into our much-loved 'Telecom'.

I'd like to go on record and state.... I still love my Tivo!

Thanks AliG!

Never heard it called Spark. Have heard it called a doodle ...

In 1980 when Bank of New South Wales bought the Commercial Bank of Australia, they came up with Western Pacific Banking Corporation, so they could keep the W and had a shortened 'Westpac'. It's a meaningless name by itself, but the business delivered the substance, and old customers remained. I'm not sure Microsoft tells me much about what their software does for me, but I know what it stands for and it's been a very successful company, in a sense a 'brand'. So my take on this change to Spark is not what the dictionary says it means, but what some commentators have said the change itself signifies, especially moving away from Telecom and what I agree are very bad connotations for so many people, let alone what the substance of the company is re the meaning of 'telecommunications'. If the company delivers on its service proposition, that will define the meaning and deliver brand value to the word 'Spark'. I think the name change, whatever it is, is a less important aspect of today's announcements than several others, including Showme TV.

http://www.spark.auckland.ac.nz/

The brand name and colours look remarkably familiar...

Good time to move, Telecom, given the substantial changes in your service offering. Go for it and ignore the naysayers.

Telecom has been Telecom since the separation from NZ Post waaaay back in the dim dark ages. Telecom means dependability reliability and security. Sure there have been some bumps along the way - cue the XT glitch (and dumping of that brand back to good old Telecom). Spark reminds me of the internal combustion engine - the spark that starts it then self combusts out the exhaust pipe. Or the sparklers we play with at Guy Fawkes that last about 30 seconds. Don't care how you've tried to justify the name change in this thread - all rubbish. I'd rather you spent the money on making your 4G network faster than and more widely accessible than Vodafone's or getting rid of Yahoo. Change xtra to spark. Use Spark instead of Showme but keep the core Telecom brand. Skinny appealed to the under 20s and so does Spark. Think I'll be moving everything to Vodafone as soon as possible.

Good luck with your move based on the name of the company. Thought Telecom's dependability, reliability and security was based on way more than the name by which they call themselves?

I note that each time Telecom changes CEO, they change something in the branding. Troughton introduced the stylised optic fibre look, Deane then Gatting each changed some of the colours in the logo, Reynolds introduced the scribble and now Moutter changes the name. I think Telecom might be suffering from "CEO'itis" ie. each new CEO wants to leave a tangible mark so changes the logo/colours and now the name.
I remember when the Post Office split off Telecom and the new SOE went to register itself as Telecom, some smart person had already grabbed the name and Telecom had to pay a lot of money to buy it off them. Sounds like the same may happen again.
Finally, I may be old fashioned but I believe that the best marketing is a name that tells you what the company does. Spark tells us nothing, just as Chorus tells us nothing about that company. Ultimately, the name is not the problem with Telecom, it is its history and its treatment of thousands of employees over 30 years and millions of customers over its lifetime. Product, pricing and service is the key to Telecom achieving greatness, not some twee name.

Its called pandering to the ego of the CEO. To change such a house-hold brand name is idiotic enough...to fork our $20 mil doing it ?? Well, the CEO should be looking for a new job...and FAST!

This is classic modern Corporate thinking that image is all and content doesn't matter. Its the type of people they are trying to attract as customers.
I suspect a lot of the others on this thread are right on the money and Spark will be something that will be part of someonesw thesis on what goes wrong in corporates...

O2, Orange, 2degrees, Vodafone, Spark. Just some examples of odd sounding (in isolation) telco names.

If it's designed to explode in potential, be a leading light in the industry and create a new universe within the company then it's STARCON.Co not a quick spark...

From what I read the name change is part of a broader business strategy update and most of the comments above overlook that. It seems that the big news is the intention is to truly transform the business model, not just the name, and hopefully Moutter and the board will follow through and execute the plan. Telecom sounds too old, corporate and boring and spark at least ensures the current visual logo will live on so not a baby-out - with- the bath water scenario. I don't really get why the same change is such a big deal but spark seems vibrant and contemporary and as good a choice as any. Many commentators seem obsessed with focussing in the negatives which is predictable on these blogs I guess.

So do i need to put Spark in my CV as a previous employr or Telecom NZ still ok?

Do brand 'experts' ever agree? I say good on Telecom/Spark. I am sure they have figured all those older folk aren't going to take off somewhere else anyway - and they are setting themselves up for the next 20 years not the last 20 years.........

Telecom's new branding seems very close to TV2. TV2 Launched a campaign called 'Show Me TV2' over two years ago. The font and graphical style of Telecom which emerged mid to late last year is very close to the Branding TV2 launched at the start of 2013. Is there more to the sharing of the Telecom building than meets the eye. Perhaps a super telecommunications business.

All looks good to me -- time to buy more shares

So many poorly informed people on here. Doesn't bode well for NZ business.

Wonder what sparks on the bottom of this page think about this..very similar even the little star..

Whilst all of the comments are valid please see the change for what is meant to be - a milestone that is largely symbolic. Remember the announce of Fonterra as a name............it rallies troops, signifies a new direction + hopefully buys a second chance with non customers
PS not that there on the name but retaining the scribble to ease transition etc is unavoidable but priceless.

With so many other companies called Spark i wonder if Telecom will with trademarking the name act like the corporate bully to invoke exclusive name rights

Did anyone notice the blatant copying if all the brand imagery by Telecom to that of TV2..... The least they could have done is change the tagline if not the colours or font that TV2 use in all their communications! Unfortunately Show me TV is way too bloody voles to show me TV2!!

"Spark", sorry doesn't cut it with me, in fact, almost bad enough to change provider. Sounds childish for a high tech company with an already well recognised name (why I went with you in the first place) and sounds like you are targeting primarily the younger market?

Z Energy was forced to change its name because Shell would not permit it to continue using its old name. The "Z" evokes "NZ" and the name is Z Energy ie. they are an energy company. What does "Spark" tell you about Telecom or the business it is in? Absolutely nothing.

This is new zealand if you dont have sport it ant worth it.

It doesn't matter what they call themselves. It doesn't matter that they are rolling out 4G, because it used to be 1G and one day it will be 10G. I'm am not excited that they are going to deliver television and film content across a fibre.
What is important to me is that they are accessible and helpful and until they roll that service out I'm not interested in the the rest.