07.25 Europe/London, September 9, 2011 By Robert Briel

Austrian public broadcaster ORF will launch two 24-hour thematic channels on the country’s national holiday on Wednesday, October 26 following the go-ahead for the news channels given by the commpetition authority (Bundeswettbewerbsbehörde).

The two 24/7 channels are ORF III Kultur und Information (culture and information) and ORF Sport Plus. Dr. Alexander Wrabetz, general manager of ORF, said in a statement: “The launch of two new 24-hour-interest channels is a milestone in the development of the company and one of the major programme projects. We develop the ORF Television family of channels within the areas of culture, information and sport and further expand our public programming offer. ORF III and ORF Sports Plus stand for public values, which only the ORF can provide for Austria.”

The competition authority has issued a few guidelines for the two new channels including the fact that they can not carry any commercials and that cross-promotion between the various ORF channels is limited by strict rules.