MediaFile

Cablevision/Newsday synergies? Not quite

August 11, 2008

We thought we had a big story on our hands this afternoon when an email popped up in our Inbox proclaiming: “Newsday TV”.

Finally, Cablevision Chief Executive Jim Dolan is sticking it to the Doubting Thomases of Wall Street by serving up the synergies between his recent acquisition, the Long Island newspaper Newsday and his 3-million strong subscriber base of cable TV customers and cable networks, we thought.

It wasn’t anywhere close to what we imagined.

newsday-tv-landing-page.jpgYes, Cablevision has launched a new interactive Newsday channel. But the interactivity pretty much ends with an on-screen subscription form letting cable customers order up a Newsday subscription on TV screens and charged to cable bills.

From the Cablevision release:

Located on Channel 611, the Newsday channel features both 7-day and weekend delivery options (Thursday, Friday and Sunday), and promotional information on the paper’s various sections and benefits, including local news, sports, Long Island Home, area coupons, the Explore LI feature section and classifieds. Also available through the channel are long-form videos of some recent Newsday stories, and information on the paper’s “Newsday Insider” benefit program for subscribers.

Meanwhile Wall Street cable analyst Craig Moffett of Bernstein Research not only thinks there’s little obvious strategic sense in the Newsday acquisition for Cablevision but that the Dolans, who control the cable operator, probably paid $150 million too much for the paper in May.

In his latest client note titled “Toys in the Attic…What’s Cablevision Really Worth?” Moffett says Cablevision is conservatively worth at least $45 a share compared with its current price of around $28.

In the breakdown of Cablevision’s assets Moffett values Newsday at just $505 million – a 20 percent discount in just three months.

No wonder top Cablevision stakeholder and activist investor Mario Gabelli wants improved corporate governance on big decisions and is calling for a sale of some of Cablevision’s asset’s to help boost the share price.

(Photo: Cablevision)

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