Dotcom stars in Orcon broadband ads
Kim Dotcom will front a series of television advertisements for former state-owned company Orcon in the clearest signs yet of the rehabilitation of his public image.
Orcon, which has been privately-owned since it was sold by state-owned enterprise Kordia in March, will pay Dotcom a US$35,000 "talent fee" to appear in advertisements promoting its "unlimited" broadband plans.
The advertisements will air on television from Sunday and can already be viewed on YouTube.
Orcon chief executive Greg McAlister said Dotcom would donate his talent fee to Auckland's Starship Trust.
The fact Orcon was recently owned by the Crown, which is cooperating with United States authorities to extradite Dotcom to the US to face copyright and "racketeering" charges was not relevant as Orcon was now a private company, he said.
"We chose him to join us on the campaign because is passionate about better internet for New Zealanders, is an expert when it comes to the internet, and is a customer of Orcon," he said.
But he acknowledged the move was "cheeky".
"We don't have the resources that our competitors do. When they do ads, they do it with a budget of millions, so we have got to be smart to get 'cut through'."
Orcon launched broadband plans with unlimited data caps last year, but McAlister said it been gradually improving them since the company was sold by Kordia.
When its new private owners acquired Orcon, the company had access to 8 gigabits of data on the Southern Cross cable connecting New Zealand to the outside world. That had now been increased to 23Gb. There had also been a 250 megabit restriction on peer-to-peer traffic, which is often used to share large files, and that had now been increased to 1.5 gigabits, he said.
About 15,000 Orcon customers - about a quarter of its customer base - were on the $99 unlimited plans and about 60 per cent of new customers were signing up for them, McAlister said.
Dotcom himself was on a more expensive, higher-end Orcon plan offering higher performance as he had a number of internet users at his mansion, McAlister said.
The advertising campaign promotes the concept of uncapped data plans. Dotcom said in a statement that he was "glad to be part of a campaign which encourages Kiwis to escape third world internet data caps." In the advertisement he describes companies that restrict data as "bullies".
- The Dominion Post