The Nine Network will launch a third free-to-air digital television channel called GEM, scheduled to begin broadcasting a day after Seven's launch of 7Mate.
Nine's GEM — an acronym for General Entertainment and Movies — follows the success of Nine's digital GO! channel. Unlike GO!, which can only be viewed in 576i standard definition, GEM will be broadcast in 1080i high definition.
The new channel will target a mainly female audience aged 35 and over. Nine’s new channel will televise several US TV shows including Friends, CSI and Cold Case, as well as the black comedy Weeds — which previously aired on the GO! channel. GEM will also screen 'homegrown' shows such as McLeod's Daughters and Sea Patrol, and will be the network’s go-to channel for high-definition sports broadcasting.
The Seven Network’s 7Mate channel, which debuts on 25 September — AFL Grand Final day — aims to target males aged 16-49.
Nine’s CEO David Gyngell said in a press release that GEM will also air news and current affairs programs like the original channel, although he noted that content would be re-packaged to suit the style of GEM.
"GEM is what its title suggests – a general entertainment and movie channel, carefully crafted and targeted like GO! before it, to appeal to a wide audience cross-section and complement Nine’s existing successful brands," Gyngell said.