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YouTube TV quietly changes refer-a-friend discount

Existing subscribers used to get their friends $45 off their YouTube TV service, but that discount is now down to $38.

Existing subscribers used to get their friends $45 off their YouTube TV service, but that discount is now down to $38.

The YouTube TV program guide shows an episode of "Yellowstone" on the Paramount Network.
The YouTube TV program guide shows an episode of “Yellowstone” on the Paramount Network. (Graphic by The Desk)

Google’s pay television service YouTube TV has quietly reduced a discount given to new subscribers who sign up for a subscription through referral links obtained from existing customers.

For several years, YouTube TV has allowed existing customers to give referral links to friends and family members that would earn new subscribers $15 off their first month of service, plus $10 off the price of YouTube TV over the course of three consecutive months. Overall, the discount netted new customers who had never signed up for YouTube TV in the past a total discount of $45 applied over 90 days.

This month, YouTube TV quietly reduced the discount, with new customers getting just $39 off their service when they sign up through an existing customer’s referral link (you can see an example of the new discount by clicking or tapping here). The discount still knocks $15 off the first month, but now reduces each subsequent month to just $8 for each subsequent month over the course of three months.

It wasn’t clear why YouTube TV reduced its referral discount, but it comes less than a month after the service raised its base subscription price from $65 a month to $73 a month for new and existing subscribers. Officials at YouTube TV justified the higher price of the base subscription package by saying it was necessary to offset rising costs associated with delivering programming to customers, including agreements it makes with the owners of television networks for the rights to redistribute their channels to subscribers.

While the referral discount might rub some subscribers the wrong way, it’s still a pretty generous offer made by YouTube TV. Competitors Sling TV and Fubo are the only other services with refer-a-friend perks; DirecTV Stream, Hulu with Live TV and Vidgo have never offered referral programs, while Philo retired their refer-a-friend program last August.