Zencoder Pricing

This topic answers questions about Zencoder pricing.


  • How much does it cost?

    Visit our pricing page for details.

  • Will I be charged for unsuccessful jobs?

    Zencoder charges based on outputs; you are not charged for unsuccessful outputs.

  • How do I see how many minutes I've used?

    Simple. Just visit your Account page.

  • What is a minute? Is that how long the video is, or how long it takes to transcode?

    We charge by the duration of all output files in minutes. This means that if you send us a 60 second video, and ask for two outputs, you'll be charged for two (2) minutes of video.

    We do not charge based on how long a video takes to encode. That would be a crazy pricing model, because you'd have no idea how much you'd expect to pay, and we'd actually make more money if we intentionally slowed down our system. We want to be as fast as possible at all times.

  • Are unused minutes for the current month carried over to next month?

    No, any unused minutes for the current month will be lost.

  • What if my video is 25 seconds long? Do I pay for a full minute?

    We calculate billing in 10-second increments. So if your output was 25 seconds long, that will be rounded to 30 seconds when calculating the charge for the job.

  • What if I exceed my number of minutes?

    You'll be charged for each additional minute at your overage rate. For most plans, the overage rate is the same rate as you pay on your plan; in other words, you aren't penalized for going over (like a cell phone) – you just keep paying at the same rate.

  • Why charge by the minute? Why not charge by the GB, for instance?

    There are several reasons why per-minute pricing is a better model.

    1. Output duration correlates more closely to our actual costs than GB. The input bitrate (which governs file size) doesn't actually play a huge factor in how long a video takes to encode. The output duration and resolution are the biggest factors, so we charge based on output duration (plus 2x for HD resolution videos).
    2. This aligns our incentives. If we charged per GB out, we would not have an incentive to compress your video well. If we increased output file sizes by 10%, we'd make 10% more money.
    3. This model makes charges predictable. If you choose constant quality encoding (which we recommend), you won't know how big your output file will be, and so you won't know how much a job will cost before sending it in.
  • How are transfer-only jobs priced?

    To find out the charge for such jobs, you can take the input duration divided by 4 (rounded to the nearest 10-seconds) and then multiple the result by the billing rate.

    The adjusted duration is the duration after the input duration is divided by 4 (rounded to the nearest 10-seconds).

  • What about audio minutes? What do they cost?

    Audio minutes cost 1/4 the price of video minutes. So if you're on a plan that charges $0.04 per minute of video, you'll pay $0.04 for every four minutes of audio (or $0.01 per minute of audio).

  • Why is HD video more expensive?

    HD is significantly slower and more server-intensive to encode. A HD video require 8 times the resources of a SD video. (Yes, 8x.) So we think that a 2x premium for HD video is pretty fair.

  • Do you charge 2x for two-pass encoding?

    Nope. Two-pass encoding actually doesn't take twice as long. The first pass is just analysis, so it goes more quickly than the second pass. If you really need two-pass encoding (and most people don't), we throw in the first pass for free.

  • It's too expensive for me. Can I get a discount?

    Our plans scale down with volume, so as you grow, you pay less per minute. If you're bigger than our largest plan on our pricing page, contact us and we'll see what we can do.

    But honestly, we aren't that expensive. We're competitive with, or cheaper than, other transcoding services on the market, and we're ridiculously cheaper than rolling your own. (Try it sometime - probably a good 30% of our customers tried to build their own transcoder at some point and gave up, often after hundreds of hours of work and dozens of unexpected rabbit holes.)

    And more importantly, we do transcoding right. We accept more input files, encode more quickly, and produce higher quality video than anyone else.