Seven tonight announced that it will be launching a new film and entertainment channel – 7flix.
The latest addition to Seven’s free-to-air channel lineup comes weeks after the launch of Nine’s new lifestyle offering, 9Life at the end of November. At the same time, Nine restacked its spectrum, moving Gem into standard definition and launching 9HD, a high definition simulcast of its main channel.
The announcement from Seven come during the first ad break of its broadcast of Molly, the dramatisation of the life story of Countdown presenter Molly Meldrum.
The trailer for 7flix promises “movies to fall in love with” and “big shows that you can’t get enough of”. Along with a mixture of rom-com movie clips and children’s programming, the trailer heavily features US sitcom Seinfeld.
The new 9Life channel has quickly gone on to gain a significant share of viewing. Across last week it averaged an audience share of 2.5% – putting it ahead of other rival secondary channels including Ten’s Eleven, SBS Food Network and SBS 2, and also ahead of sister channel Gem. Last night, 9Life was the second most watched secondary channel, with a 4.1% share.
Expectation of the new channel launch by Seven has been growing since before Christmas after a message saying “Coming Soon” appeared on the electronic program guide.
The announcement – which came on the first night of the official ratings year – means that metro TV viewers will have a choice of 17 free to air channels.
The success of 9Life, and moderate success of SBS’s new Food Network will raise the question of whether Ten will also attempt to squeeze an additional channel out if its allocated spectrum. If Ten shareholder News Corp succeeds in its buyout of Sky News, it could potentially include a free to air version of the subscription TV news channel.
7flix launches in three weeks’ time, on February 28.