SYDNEY — Seven Network is the first free Aussie web to move into multichanneling with the launch of its digital channel 7HD, six weeks ahead of its proposed December outing.

The channel is the first new commercial free web Down Under in 40 years and will carry a range of Seven content both original and time shifted.

“We have more content and more creative people than our competitors, and we are setting out to blitz them,” Seven topper David Leckie said.

Seven has long been a proponent of a multichannel environment, even before Oz’s media laws changed this year to allow it.

Rival Nine Network has long opposed the move, arguing it will dilute content, but Seven is bullish, saying it will launch a third Channel Seven in the next 15 months.  

“We have been one network for more than five decades,” Leckie said. “We are now two networks, and we’ll be three networks by early 2009. And, we believe Australian television audiences will embrace this explosion of choice.”

The network preem of Spike Lee’s feature “25th Hour” kicked off the bow of 7HD, which is available to any household with a digital set-top box. Ten and Nine plan to follow with extra channels at the end of the year.