Telewest plugs in cable scheme

Cable telecoms group Telewest is to appoint a branding consultancy to rebrand the group and create the identity for its digital cable TV service, which launches later this year.

The appointment was due as Design Week went to press. The cable firm is considering long-standing plans for a merger with Cable and Wireless Communications, which is also shortly expected to merge with fellow cable operator NTL.

A super merger between all three groups could mean a rationalisation of design consultancies used. But it would also spell the end of binding conflict of interest agreements that are currently preventing consultancies working for more than one party.

The consolidation of cable sector operators is seen by some as the only strategic option in the face of tough competition from the likes of BSkyB and Microsoft. The three cable companies are each due to launch digital cable, as well as interactive TV services, before the end of the year.

Telewest marketing communications manager Janet Bentick declines to name the consultancies that have been shortlisted, but says a decision will be made this week. “We are in the process of recruiting a design consultancy for brand and corporate identity work. This is for our digital TV launch,” she says. The project may include consumer literature.

Telewest does not currently employ a design consultancy, although it does use Internet consultancy MARCHCom and below-the-line agency The Aspen Group.

“If you work in the communications sector you are probably used to the speed of the sector and the industry speculation,” says one consultancy source working for a cable operator. “Microsoft could come along and buy them all at any time.”

Among the consultancies likely to be affected by a super merger would be CWC’s roster consultancies Interbrand Newell and Sorrell, Revolution, Skidmore Turnbull, Birddog, Nucleus Design, Thumb and The Team, plus multimedia groups AKQA, USP and PresCo.

NTL has just been rebranded by Basten Greenhill Andrews (DW 10 June).

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