Two New Zealand companies with similar names to Telecom's newly announced internet television venture, ShowmeTV, say resulting consumer confusion will have "massive implications" on the growth of their businesses.
The directors of Show TV, a direct-to-consumer advertiser, and ShowMe, an online retailer, say neither brand has any involvement with the telecommunications provider's new online television business, which is expected to debut in the next few months.
"After many phone calls and enquiries from people genuinely confusing our company's marks and brands with Telecom's proposed new venture we felt it necessary to take steps to clarify the situation," said Darryl Clarke, a director of Show TV and spokesman for the two brands.
"It was with huge surprise on Friday morning that we learnt about this in the press. It has been distressing over the weekend for our entire management team as we watch Telecom move in on our well established brands."
Show Television, owned by importer and distributor Southern Cross Promotions, promotes Show TV branded product - such as cookware and cooking accessories - direct to consumers via television and consumer shows throughout Australasia.
Online retailer ShowMe specialises in the promotion of Show TV branded product on its website, showmeshop.co.nz, and is 50 per cent owned by Show Television.
"If you look at our Show TV and ShowMe trademarks alongside Telecom's proposed ShowmeTV logo, it's extremely confusing and raises serious questions about any IP [intellectual property] and branding advice Telecom have received on this project," said Clarke. "The matter is now with our legal team. This is a very serious situation and could have massive implications for the future development of our growing business and brands."
A Telecom spokesman said the company had been aware of Show TV and ShowMe's existence before Friday's ShowmeTV announcement.
"We have been following the appropriate processes for the use of ShowmeTV as a trademark in relevant industry categories," he said. "We do not believe customers will confuse a shopping/promotional business with our internet TV offering. Show Television Limited and ShowMe Limited approached us late today on these matters and we look forward to discussing these with them in due course."
Telecom also announced on Friday that it will change its name to Spark later this year.