Voice Media Group Takes on Yelp with New Mobile Apps

By Devon Glenn 

Alternative newspapers including LA Weekly and the Village Voice are reclaiming their role as the go-to sources for recommended local events, restaurants, and bars.

Parent company Voice Media Group has launched a redesigned mobile app for these and 9 other markets that can go head-to-head with Yelp.

Designed to be a pocket-sized resource for what’s fun and what’s happening now in your city, the app makes event listings, local food and drink reviews searchable on an iPhone or iPad.

The publishers took the readers’ advice and added news and other fresh stories, said Voice Media Group director of content Stacy Volhein, so the digital versions of the alternative weeklies will still have the entertainment value of the print editions.

VMG has also launched Pictureshow, a slideshow app full of curated collections of beautiful high resolution photos that’s native to the iPad.

While some publishers hoard their professional photographs, VMG has given readers the tools to share single pictures or whole albums (as well as articles) on Twitter, Facebook, email, and (coming soon) Pinterest.

In January, VMG struck a deal with Foursquare to share its “Best Of” lists and create badges with the local check-in service.

Filled with editorial content as well as listings, could these new apps challenge consumer-powered recommendation sites like Yelp? “I believe so,” said Volhein. “We are the trusted source for what’s local.”