Time Out London recently launched an iPhone app, which helps users locate nearby restaurants, gigs, art galleries and more.
The app is sponsored by Smirnoff for the first six months, and this seems to be a pretty good fit for both sponsor and publisher. Time Out offers Smirnoff access to it target 25-44 demographic, while Time Out is able to offer it for free download and extend its reach.
Also, compared with some other branded or sponsored apps, thanks to the fact that it is more useful day to day, it should have a longer lifespan, meaning more views / engagement for both sponsor and publisher.
More importantly, the app itself works well, with a good, easy to navigate, user interface, though it can be a little slow to load at times.
You can search by event and area, or it can take your current location via GPS and pinpoint local events and venues on the map for you:
At the bottom, you can select and deselect so it shows cinemas, theatre, gigs, restaurants and bars, while selecting the pins will give you further details, reviewer ratings etc:
The 'Inspire Me' feature is useful too, it provides ideas for current events, gigs, exhibitions etc to go to, and users can shake the app for a new selection if they don't like what's on offer, and touch the event for more info:
The app works well, and is very easy to use, and it can be useful if you are stuck for ideas for what to do, or else need to find a local bar or restaurant.
I still prefer the Yelp and Qype apps, as they both offer a greater level of detail. For instance, with Yelp, you can find and read reviews of nearby restaurants, see photos, details on the price range, as well as showing walking directions, something Time Out doesn't do.
The Time Out app works better for recommendations though, thanks to the top ten picks list and 'Inspire Me' feature, while the sponsorship model seems to be a good way for publishers to cover the cost of app development.