What Does a Name Change Mean?
This is not the first re-branding of NCTA. The group began as the National Community Television Council in 1951 and then became the National Community Television Association in 1952.
The NCTA was known as the National Cable Television Association for a few decades beginning in 1968.
In 2001, Cable Television was dropped from the name and replaced with Cable & Telecommunications.
In 2015, the NCTA also changed the name of its annual conference from "The Cable Show" to "INTX: The Internet & Television Expo."
Each of that nomenclature changes reflected some change in business models, from off-air signal re-transmission to “program choice” to multiple services including telecommunications and especially Internet-related services.
There are other triggers for re-branding, though, often based on big acquisitions. Those costs are less discretionary.
By some estimates, the at&t brand is worth more than $45 billion. Reason enough, one might argue, to simplify branding of key products around at&t. It appears that the U-verse brand is going away.
It isn’t the first time AT&T has ditched a major brand name.
When SBC Communications was re-branded as AT&T, the cost was said to involve spending of about $1 billion.
When AT&T Wireless was re-branded as Cingular, the move is reported to have cost $4 billion. Some three years later, Cingular went back to AT&T, for possibly another $2 billion.
There have been other, arguably less-expensive rebranding efforts as well. There was the cost of re-branding BellSouth as AT&T, said to have cost as much as $2 billion. One has to assume the re-branding of Ameritech as SBC cost at least $1 billion. Add on the earlier re-branding of Pacific Telesis as SBC as well.
Add it up and those earlier re-branding efforts probably has cost about $9 billion.
Big companies and associations often change their names to reflect changes in markets, business models and missions. Big cable and telco organizations are no different.