Mixed Media

by Jeff Bercovici

May 11 2008 4:26PM EDT

Much Relief as Murdoch Gives Up on ‘Newsday’

Mort Zuckerman is one lucky man.

What could’ve been a doomsday scenario for Zuckerman’s New York Daily News receded over the horizon on Friday as Rupert Murdoch withdrew from the bidding for Newsday, saying it had “become uneconomical.”

Now, with no prospect of a NewsdayNew York Post joint venture cornering the local ad market, Zuckerman, who’s always seemed ambivalent about the newspaper business, is free to drop his own pursuit of Newsday. While Zuckerman hasn’t formally backed out, according to The New York Times, he’s made it clear that “he would not lose sleep” if Tribune accepts Cablevision’s $650 million offer.

As the kids once said: No duh. If anything, owning another paper is probably what would’ve given him bad dreams.

And while the Daily News is hardly in the catbird seat — Zuckerman has said it’s on the cusp of unprofitability — it could soon be in a stronger position if Murdoch follows through on his plan to raise the Post‘s cover price.

Cablevision’s wisdom in chasing Newsday has been widely questioned, but one analyst, media appraiser Kevin Kamen, predicts the acquisition “will mean more profits for Cablevision shareholders in three to five years….The valuation ofNewsday and its subsidiaries will climb in due course and the impact of Cablevision being able to offer its cable clients a cost effective subscription to Newsday will increase circulation.” The only losers, he says, will be consumers and advertisers on Long Island, where a single conglomerate will now have a near-monopoly on local media.