7mate The Seven Network earlier today made a surprise announcement of the launch of its new digital channel, 7mate.

The new channel, to broadcast in high-definition on digital channel 73, is designed to target male audiences aged 16-49 – a demographic that advertisers can sometimes find hard to target.

7mate will launch on 25 September with its first program being a HD simulcast of Seven’s coverage of the AFL Grand Final before breaking off from Seven with its own program line-up.

Curiously, the ‘mate’ branding was one of a range of ‘dummy’ trademarks registered by Seven almost a year ago in the lead-up to the launch of digital channel 7TWO.

David Leckie, chief executive officer of the Seven Media Group, welcomed the new channel:

“Seven is Australia’s most-watched network and our suite of multi-channels delivers more viewers than anyone else.  7mate is the next step in building on our leadership in broadcast television. 7mate is going to be great.”

“The launch of 7mate delivers us a tremendous platform of channels targeting specific audience demographics – leveraging our primary channel’s success with women and 7TWO’s targeting of a 25+ adult audience.”

“We’re delighted to be the first commercial network to move to three channels. With 7HD we were first into multi-channelling for the commercial networks and this is another significant step for our television business.”

Some of the programs to appear on 7mate include Family Guy, American Dad, Last Comic Standing, 30 Rock, How I Met Your Mother, That 70s Show, Scrubs and Crank Yankers.

Drama series for 7mate include Caprica, Warehouse 13 and Stargate Atlantis, while reality shows will include Jersey Shore, Gene Simmons’ Family Jewels, Monster Garage and Pawn Stars.  Factual shows will include Fifth Gear, Life After People, The Boneyard, Ax Men, Mega Movers, Mega Structures, Air Crash Investigations and Shockwave.

The launch of 7mate as a high-definition channel will effectively force the main Seven Network program line-up off the high-definition signal, meaning that signature programs such as Packed To The Rafters, Dancing With The Stars, City Homicide and US shows including Desperate Housewives, Bones and Criminal Minds may no longer be available in high-definition.  This mirrors a similar change made by both ABC and the Ten Network in the launch of their new digital channels ABC News 24 and One HD.

It is unclear at this stage what arrangements have been made to have 7mate carried on regional affiliates Prime and Southern Cross Television.

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