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UPDATE / Jan 16: MediaWorks has pulled a series of ads placed by Kim Dotcom to promote his new file sharing service Mega, launching January 20.
An insider at MediaWorks told NBR ONLINE the move was made in response to pressure from music and movie advertisers.
The ads were whipped off air shortly after they first aired on The Edge and seven other stations earlier today. Dotcom told NBR ONLINE the ads were placed exclusively with Mediaworks stations.
Spokeswoman Rachel Lorimar told NBR the spots were taken off air for "commercial reasons" and that "this is a unique situation."
She refused to comment further.
Kim Dotcom tweeted this afternoon "Apparently some music labels complained to MediaWorks about our radio ads. Booking of over 500 ad plays terminated. Wow!!!"
A rep for the Recording Industry Association of NZ (Rianz) was not immediately able to comment but was seeking more information on record companies' alleged involvement.
In follow-up tweets, Dotcom said, "Not blaming MediaWorks. They are a great company with great people. It's the music labels that are abusing their power, again."
He also offered to sell the ads to other radio stations if they would email him with terms.
Mega is launching internationally this Sunday, but the radio ads were only booked for New Zealand. Dotcom told NBR international radio and internet ads would follow after the launch.
Dotcom will launch Mega - an online file shariing and storage service - this Sunday night. He says he will follow up six months later with two more services, Megabox, a content service that will give artists a cut of the profits, and Megakey, a web browser plug-in which will offer ad-supported free music and movie content - supplanting ads served by websites in the process.
The accused pirate has previously claimed record companies are threatened by Megabox, which would potentially cut them out of the loop.
Kim Dotcom turns to ye olde radio for Mega ad campaign, pushes privacy angle
Jan 15: Irony Dept: The man who wants to reinvent media has turned to a traditional broadcasting medium to promote his new file sharing service.
Kim Dotcom has produced a series of 5, 15 and 30-second radio ads to promote Mega, launching January 20 (scroll down for the audio).
The spots will run on MediaWorks' The Edge and seven other NZ stations from Wednesday, Dotcom told NBR ONLINE this morning.
"I think nobody with a radio will be able to miss them," Dotcom says.
"We will launch a global ad campaign, radio and internet, after the launch."
The spots were created inhouse by the Mega team, and feature voiceovers by Nic Sampson and Barnaby Fredrick (cowriters of the Mega Christmas play Dotcom performed in during December), Kimberley Crossman (another star of said play) and Kim himself.
The ads push a privacy angle, using cheeky analogies rather than going into the specifics of Mega's encryption technology and distributed hosting setup (Crossman's spot runs "One of the most basic human rights is privacy. You wouldn't leave the door open when you took a poo-poo would you? So why would you leave your files exposed on the internet?").
And all of the ads finish with the tagline "Mega.co.nz* - the privacy company."
It's a savvy move. Mega's one-click encryption (assuming it's as user-friendly as Kim claims) will offer a key point of difference over rivals like Dropbox, making it the Swiss bank of online file lockers.
But how far the privacy promise will reassure the 50 million users of Dotcom's former service, Megaupload, is an open point. Despite lawsuits, none have been able to access any of the files stranded by the FBI seizure and shutdown (Megaupload was hosted at a US server farm. Mega will have a distributed or anywhere-but-the-US setup).
Some-time musician Kim Dotcom has an affinity for audio and "Audio ads on the Internet don't work," he told NBR.
"We wanted to do something fun that people can enjoy when they drive to work."
Mega is due to launch this Sunday, January 20 (the anniversary of the Megaupload raid).
Dotcom says two other services will follow six months later: Megabox, a content service that will give artists a cut of the profits, and Megakey, a web browser plug-in which will offer ad-supported free music and movie content - supplanting ads served by websites in the process.
* Mega's original URL was Me.ga - with a Gabon-registered domain providing the alphabetical symmetry. When the Gabon government suspended the account - under US pressure, Dotcom alleges - the German entrepreneur registered Mega.co.nz as the new address for the global service.
The Sound Cloud files below seem slow or inaccessible at times. Hit F5 to refresh if you have no luck, or enjoy the transcripts ...
Mega radio spot 1 - Nic Sampson: "One of the most basic human rights is privacy. That's why pants were invented. Mega.co.nz is like pants for the internet. And I think we can all agree the internet needs to put some pants on. Mega.co.nz - the privacy company."
Mega radio spot 2 - Kimberley Crossman: "One of the most basic human rights is privacy. You wouldn't leave the door open when you took a poo-poo would you? So why would you leave your files exposed on the internet? Mega.co.nz - the privacy company."
Mega radio spot 3 - Barnaby Fredrick: "In the real world you don't walk around without pants on. You wouldn't leave the bathroom door open. You wouldn't have sex with a stranger without protection. So why would you leave yourself exposed on the internet? Mega.co.nz - the privacy company."
Mega radio spot 4 - Kim Dotcom: "It's a dangerous world out there. You could get shot by a stranger. You could die in a car crash. You could get attacked by an agry bee. You could even get illegally spied on for alleged copyright infringement. It is just not safe out there. Stay inside and use Mega.co.nz - the privacy company."
Mega radio spot 5 - Kim Dotcom: "This Sunday, the Prime Minister will get an angry call from the White House - Mega.co.nz."