|The Indianapolis Star is one of just nine sites relaunched.|
The new designs, which are meant to boost advertising revenue and readership, have been in the works since summer 2011, and were to be modeled after the look first adopted by USA Today more than a year ago. Among many changes, the USAT relaunch created a more tablet-like appearance that placed advertising more directly in front of readers.
As recently as July, Corporate said it expected the relaunch would be largely completed by year's end in the company's top 35 U.S. markets. Indeed, at one point, Corporate had said the rollout could be finished as early as January 2013.
But today, the first business day of the new year, the new look is in place at only two newspapers and seven stations, according to my review, which included 81 community dailies plus 23 stations. (I did not include any of the 20 stations from the just-closed takeover of Dallas TV company Belo.)
Since initially predicting installations in the top 35 markets, Corporate hasn't said anything publicly about possible changes to the timetable, so it's unclear why the new look has reached only nine sites so far.
Without any additional information from Corporate, it's also unclear whether the delay will have any immediate impact on revenue projections. The new design was to create more uniform advertising positions across Gannett, especially for prerolls that were to run before the many more videos now being produced by local sites in anticipation of the site redesigns.
The first to relaunch was WBIR in Knoxville, Tenn., in early September. The first newspaper to come on board was New York's Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, later that same month.
The unexplained delay comes amid a raft of other evidence that Gannett's digital growth is stumbling, according to regulatory documents, as competition across the Web and electronic networks only grows more intense.
Related: This spreadsheet shows the status of site and app relaunches at all 104 U.S. properties.