Fread - Product Stars
Best products of August 2018


MoviePass for news

Upvotes 427 PH Page >
Venkat 'VK' Kondragunta
Hey Product Hunt! We believe that getting access to a broad range of good quality journalism is essential part of your digital diet. But it’s impossible to do that at a £2000 price point. So, we built Fread Unlimited. It’s like Moviepass or Spotify, but just for paywalled news. You pay £10 / $12 a month, and get a login that gives you access to the major paywalled news / journalism websites. And if you come across some content that isn’t covered by your Fread subscription, with a click of a button we’ll make sure you get access. We’ve had an incredible response so far, with just under 30,000 people signing up for the beta. If you’re keen to try Fread Unlimited out, sign up now! You can use the exclusive product hunt code “GETFREADPH at
Nicolo S
@vkon Hey, I didn't use the right code, I used "FREADPH" instead by accident and now i'm at the back of the queue, number 26k. Is this service out yet or what does the code do? I love the idea by the way! I would love to consolidate all my various media subscriptions into one :D
Venkat 'VK' Kondragunta
@coconidodev Hi Nicolo! Great to hear that you're excited to use Fread Unlimited! We're really excited to get our product out! The reception has been overwhelming and we're currently onboarding our first sets of users. Both codes FREADPH and GETFREADPH will let you sign up, and we're working hard to get everybody onboarded ASAP. If you're keen to get your hands on Fread Unlimited more quickly you can always use your unique referral code to refer friends. Thanks for the support! :D
Augustin de Belloy
Love this idea. Really looking forward to it!
James Welch
Fantastic idea. Wish you great success. Definitely something I'll try.
Valentin Alexeev
Looks very interesting and I'd love to sign-up but how does the service guarantee access to the sources? What kind of agreements are in place with the sites for the access to the material?
Venkat 'VK' Kondragunta
@valentinalexeev Hey Valentin, Good to hear that you’re thinking about using FU! We have some partnerships with a few publishers, but not with all of them. As you can imagine this takes a lot of time to iron out. We wanted to get Fread Unlimited out to users ASAP, but also wanted to provide as full an experience as possible for our users. For that reason we operate a Moviepass model - we fund, in full per user, subscriptions to providers we’re not partnered with. Hope that helps explain! :D
Valentin Alexeev
@vkon thank you for clarification! I'm in the queue but there are other 26'000 who got ahead of me :)
Jonathan Fren
Love the idea and good price point. Sweet design too, can’t wait to try it out 😀
Dan Dan
I'm up voting this because it's great not to have a service that's not attached to google or apple. However, comparing yourself to moviepass my be a mistake as it looks like they are going bankrupt because of poor business planning.
Venkat 'VK' Kondragunta
@tostartafire Hey Dan, Yeah that’s true, we’re a bit wary of that association! Thanks for the encouraging words, we hope you like it!
Gary Bacon
The website for this was made with Wix 🤔 Does everyone use the same login to access the paywalled websites? Would this violate Terms of Use for these services?
Venkat 'VK' Kondragunta
@pixelbud Hey Gary, Using Wix allows our team to stay lean by allowing our devs to focus on the rest of the stack. We want to spend more of our funding on the product and user experience. No, each user has a unique Fread login. Where we don’t have partnerships in place yet, we’re very careful not to violate terms of service. Thanks for the feedback! 😃
@pixelbud @vkon Venkat, I think he was asking about the logins to each paywalled site, not the Fread site. Does each user get a normal and unique paid subscription to for example? Thanks. And great business model! If you're smart enough to come up with an idea like this, you'll be able to execute!! Thank you and congrats on your achievements so far!
Colin Winhall
@pixelbud @vkon @jeff_chung I'm interested in the answer to this too.
Yet another waitlist? Love the idea. Read FT, Economist. Signed up for access. I guess referral code "fread" worked.
CEO of @inkl. Co-Founder of @spotprotoco
@yobula You may want to check out - already does this with 50+ titles. And you can also pay per article if you want - 10 cents.
Alexander Forsén
I don’t believe this until I can sign up to the service and use it. I’m today using the app Blendle to read NYT, WSJ et al.
Simon Bromberg
Unclear from the site how this works. Are you partnering with these sites directly to provide a lower fee (if so what is their incentive? Wouldn't they be cannibalizing their normal subscription businesses?) or are you going full-on Moviepass and losing money on every subscription?
Venkat 'VK' Kondragunta
@shimmb Hey Simon, Great question! Short answer: a bit of both... With our partners, the incentive to participate despite the risk of cannibalisation is mainly due to a lack of engagement from certain demographics. The scale of those disengaged because the price is too high / they want snacking access / subscription friction is orders of magnitude higher than current subscriber bases. There are a few other reasons too. With those publishers we’re working on securing partnerships with, at the moment, yes: we ‘invest’ money per user. Hope that helps!
Jamie Gordon
@vkon only problem i see with this is local or regional newspapers in the UK have paywalls as well, they are owned by the same groups who have paywalls elsewhere. so will you include local/regional?
Sam Campbell
I'd love to know the economics of your business model! How can you provide access to such high-quality content for such a low monthly price, especially single subscriptions that are >$12/month?
@campbellcapital I share the same curiosity but I don't think anyone could give away the Colonels secret recipe without being paranoid about the risks...
@campbellcapital But you're totally right in that it's hard to believe that they could come out of pocket for each subscription, even if it was limited per person but at unlimited, there has to be something other than them just paying out of pocket. Anyone could start a business giving away free money, but these guys must have some significant experience in this arena. It's all digital, so it's not like there is much additional cost per paid new subscription opened but if it's taking away from the bottom line and people are cancelling their currently paid direct subscription to use this service, they probably have the option to kill the agreement any time and probably have some strict advertising rules in place...monitoring really closely during the test phase. If the users are from a demographic that's never going to sign up anyway, something is better than nothing. Maybe the increased traffic and ad revenues alone is worth it for them? With no additional cost of goods, it's not totally unbelievable I guess.
Sam Campbell
@jeff_chung Agreed they must have a partnerships and/or have a similar model to MoviePass (which has been surprisingly open about their model). Alternatively, I wonder what type of rules come with the number of users allowed per paid subscription? (i.e., Netflix style sharing of a single account between multiple users).
@campbellcapital I just signed up and immediately they ask you point blank which subscriptions you currently pay for. This gives everyone some idea of the numbers and whether or not it makes sense for the publisher. And the premium accounts listed are not as many as I had pictured in my mind...which makes it even more realistic. Still a good deal and an incredible business accomplishment if it's sustainable.
@campbellcapital What's the best site to learn about MoviePass, here or their blog or something? It's so hard to keep up with all the new startups, but I'm super interested in MP now, even though I guess it's not working..
CEO of @inkl. Co-Founder of @spotprotoco
@campbellcapital @jeff_chung You may want to check out - already does this with 50+ titles (including WSJ / FT / ECON). And you can also pay per article if you want - 10 cents.
Greg Caplan
Awesome concept! Any thoughts on adding Business Insider or The Information? Either of those and I am in.
Christian Kramp
WaPo, Bloomberg and Wired are the ones I miss to read while having access to WSJ and NYT. So I strongly consider to sign up to Fread. It would be ideal for a news junkie like me.
CEO of @inkl. Co-Founder of @spotprotoco
@christian_kramp You may want to check out - already does this with 50+ titles. And you can also pay per article if you want - 10 cents.
Joshua Dance
How is it different from
Gina Edwards
Just don’t see why pay 10$ and 12$ for news and good journalism when u can get it for free if u look at the right sites, also everything we read is not correct or telling us what we need to know, I try to find articles that are close to being true which are written by a person who specialize in the subject or knowledge of what the article is about than read what they want me to believe and not all the facts
Emmanuel B. Lepage
Does the App Texture doesn't do the same thing? Pay 10 bucks a month, read all the magazines?
Michael Goldstrom
Brilliant idea.
Colin Winhall
This was a problem featured on problem of the day! great to see someone solving this problem!
Rex Feng
Is there a more detailed listing of news sources? I don't see New York Times on this page
Dylan Yuska
Hi Venkat, looks like you have a lot of people who like the product. When you're ready to raise money, consider Slice Capital and equity crowdfunding as a way to raise money from your biggest fans.