The Daily News was very busy this afternoon telling everyone and their mom that the city tabloid will go all color by the end of 2009, making it the "first major market daily newspaper in the United States" to do so, according to a release. (Never mind that Europe's been doing this for years, along with plenty of far more inferior weeklies stateside.) Publisher Mort Zuckerman may not be losing quite as much money on his tabloid as Rupert Murdoch does on his Post, but we're fairly sure Mort's not changing the hue of his paper just so it'll look a little prettier at the prom.

It's awfully sweet that publisher Mort Zuckerman is committed (or deluded) enough to the future of his News to make "this significant investment in its future," as he puts it. Are the costs all that much different though? To be sure, purchasing brand-new press machines can cost a pretty penny. The German Koenig & Bauer presses that the News will use cost millions. But an industry insider we spoke to said the material costs to run the press (additional inking, etc.) aren't likely to be much different.

What is likely to change, however, are the number of people required to operate the thing. The main selling point of the Commander CT is that it requires far fewer pressmen than conventional machines. Good news for Zuckerman, not so much for the paper's press operators-we can actually hear the Pressmen's Union organizing from here.

Even if Zuckerman saves some cash with personnel, he may lose a little when it comes to ad revenue, surprisingly. Advertisers pay serious premiums for full-color ads. An extra $31,500 is tacked on to the bill for a full-color full-page ad in the New York Times. (Or you could send your kid to a damn nice college for a year, but it's not our money, sadly.) But they're willing to fork over the extra cash because ad departments remind them up and down that each edition has only a limited number of color positions available. Act now! Time is running out! You get the drift. It's harder to convince an advertiser to pay more for an ad when the others are just as colorful.

Our guess is that Zuckerman, whose newspaper is privately-owned, may be jumping on the cutting-edge bandwagon because he's starting to feel the heat from the New York Post/Wall Street Journal alliance. What better way to convince current advertisers to stay put than to distract them with something polychromatic-and shiny too!