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Confession of a TV executive
11/10/2003

QUEBEC CITY - CHUM Limited president and CEO Jay Switzer humbly confessed a major sin to his broadcaster colleagues today.

Switzer has a Bell ExpressVu digital video recorder at home and said, "I wish to confess to my peers here… that I was watching another network last week on a Bell ExpressVu PVR. I was watching a show called CSI on another network, CTV, and… I hit the skip-forward button."

Switzer made the revelation during a panel discussion this morning at the Canadian Association of Broadcasters annual convention.

"I said to myself, 'what the hell are you doing?'" Switzer continued. "Is this any different than allowing your kid to download music. Don't I have a moral obligation to watch those commercials."

To this, much laughter erupted, but Switzer wasn't making mirth.

"It's a serious ethical question if you're in the business," he explained. "I said to myself that if I actually come home and I hit this skip button through all of CTV's commercials, it's the wrong thing to do and is a challenge for our industry."

The DVR challenges "a business model that's been around for decades," he adds. "If your fundamentals is building a business on advertising, which has been the backbone of this very successful system, then it is a challenge in the next 24 to 36 months."

"Don't do that again," added Astral media chairman Andre Bureau, another panel member.

"Well," added Switzer, "it was a repeat episode, so…"

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