/ Blog /Navigating the Video Call API Landscape: Pricing
August 16, 202212 min read
Among the many factors to take into account when deciding which audio-video SDK to purchase, pricing is a core determinant. Even though an SDK may offer all features relevant to your use case, the way different vendors price their SDKs can make or break your final decision.
This article will compare the pricing policies of five audio-video infra providers: Agora, Twilio, Jitsi (JaaS), Zoom, and 100ms.
Before we get into the details, here’s what we’ll be exploring at a high level:
To start with, let’s look at the three pricing models examined in this article:
|Charged on basis of usage||Agora, Twilio, 100ms, Zoom Video SDK|
|Charged per user (MAU)||8x8 Jitsi as a Service|
|Charged per host||Zoom Meeting SDK|
Note: All pricing mentioned is in USD.
Agora charges on the basis of usage — based on the number of minutes used, the number of users, and the unit price.
Agora users will have their monthly cost calculated as (audio minutes × audio unit price) + (video minutes (depending on resolution) × video unit price (depending on resolution)).
Agora charges for aggregate resolution. This is an important distinction to note as the pricing for various video resolutions is different (details of this are given below). What Agora charges for is the sum of all the video streams running in a meeting.
Example of aggregate resolution: There are three people on a call with their video streams running at 720p (1280720). The aggregate resolution here is (1280720)*3 = 2,764,800.
The assumption is that with 720p, one will be charged HD video rates. This is not the case. In this example, as per Agora’s aggregate resolution pixel classification, Agora will charge the customer at 2K resolution prices.
If the resolution in the above example was 960x720 and the call had five people instead of three, the aggregate resolution would change accordingly, and so would the charges.
Agora’s aggregate resolution is a sum of the resolutions of all individual tiles streamed within a meeting.
To qualify, aggregate resolution, Agora distinguished between four video types: HD, Full HD, 2K, and 2K+.
|Video Type||Aggregate Resolution in Pixels|
|HD||Less than or equal to 921,600 (1280 × 720)|
|Full HD||From 921,600 (1280 × 720) to 2,073,600 (1920 × 1080)|
|2K||From 2,073,600 (1920 × 1080) to 3,686,400 (2560 × 1440)|
|2K+||From 3,686,400 (2560 × 1440) to 8,847,360 (4096 × 2160)|
The unit price per 1,000 minutes for these slabs:
|Video Full HD||$8.99|
To dive deeper into how Agora calculates cost (based on aggregate resolution) when there are multiple hosts and active screen sharing in a call, take a look at this page.
Agora also offers 10,000 free minutes each month. It deducts these free minutes in a specific sequence, which can be found here.
Pricing per 1,000 participant minutes is given below:
|Full HD Video||$13.49|
Source: Agora Pricing
Agora’s pricing scales per participant's minutes of usage. Final charges for users (for both video conferencing and recording) depend on the aggregate resolution of media tracks (and corresponding unit cost) shared in a call. Agora offers 10,000 free minutes per month.
In this section, we’ll be examining the pricing charged by two of Twilio’s video products: Twilio P2P and Twilio Video Groups. Twilio charges on the basis of usage.
For customers whose use case is confined to 2-3 participants, and who do not need recording or PSTN (Public Switched Telephone Network), Twilio P2P is ideal. It allows up to 3 participants and up to 10 audio-only participants.
Twilio Video Groups allows users to create video apps for up to 50 participants.
Recordings are only available on Twilio Video Groups. It is charged at $0.004 per participant minute. To playback recordings, the Video Compositions service is required, with recording compositions charged at $0.01 per composed minute.
An individual’s recording will be charged per minute for the duration they are being recorded.
For example, if a person is being recorded for 15 minutes, Twilio will charge $0.004 per minute — $0.06 in this case.
Once the recording is enabled, all tracks published by all participants will be recorded.
If they are part of a larger group call that goes on for 15 minutes, the composite recording of all tracks in a single file will be charged additionally, on top of the call charges. This composite recording for 15 minutes, will cost $0.01 per composed minute — $0.15 in this instance.
Let’s say there are 6 people on a 15-minute call and recording is enabled. A charge will be levied per minute for recording each person’s tracks on the call. Then, there is an additional cost for getting the combined recording.
Source: Twilio Video Recording
Source: Twilio Pricing
Live streaming via Twilio Live is charged for interactive audio and video media as shown below:
|Twilio Live Streaming||Video||Audio-only|
|Speaker (Number of speakers/minutes connected to a live stream)||$0.004/minute||$0.0016/minute|
|Livestream creation (Charged/minute of live stream produced)||$0.10/minute||$0.048/minute|
|Audience (Charged per minute of content viewed or listened to by audience)||$0.0025/minute||$0.001/minute|
Source: Twilio Live Pricing
Pricing for Twilio scales with participant minutes. Twilio P2P is charged at $0.0015 per participant minute, and allows up to 3 participants and up to 10 audio-only participants. Twilio Video Groups is charged $0.004 per participant minute, and does not charge the number of media tracks or bandwidth consumed.
Recordings (only available on Video Groups) are charged at three layers. Users have to pay to record a call, to playback recordings, and to get composite recordings.
For Jitsi users, pricing is calculated on a per-user model. JaaS charges for monthly active users (MAU). In Jitsi’s ecosystem, MAU has been defined as users who have attended at least one meeting with at least one other user within a month.
For example, if the same five people were to attend a meeting each day, this would count as five users. A monthly active user is tracked on the basis of the device they log in from. In effect, a person who logs into the meeting from their laptop each day will be counted as one MAU. If they log in from multiple devices (e.g., from both phone and laptop) they will be counted as multiple MAUs.
“To identify an MAU, JaaS installs an identifier on the local storage of a user's meeting device (e.g., laptop, tablet, phone),” as per Jitsi.
|JaaS Dev||Up to 25 MAU free. Only add-ons are charged extra.|
|JaaS Basic||300 MAU. $99/ month.|
|JaaS Standard||1,500 MAU. $499/ month.|
|JaaS Business||3000 MAU. $999/month.|
|>3000 MAU||Contact Jitsi Sales.|
If a customer exceeds the number of MAU included in their plan, $0.99 per MAU will be levied as an overage charge.
|Recording||$0.01 / min|
|RTMP Streaming||$0.01 / min|
|Transcription||$0.06 / min|
Source: JaaS Pricing
Pricing for JaaS scales on the basis of MAUs. Users must log into every meeting from the same device to qualify as a single MAU. All add-ons are charged according to usage minutes.
Zoom offers two SDKs: a Video SDK (charged on a usage basis) and a Meeting SDK (charged on a per-user basis).
The Meeting SDK offers four paid tiers: Basic, Pro, Business, Business-Plus, and Enterprise. To use the Meetings SDK, the host is the only person who must purchase and hold a license. Said license carries a specific limit on the number of participants who can be supported in each tier.
For example, if a teacher is teaching one class each day, the teacher will be the only person who will require a license. It is on the basis of that license that the customer is charged, not any other factors like the duration of the class, number of students in the class, etc.
|Pro||$149.90 per license per year. Up to 9 licenses.||100|
|Business||$199.90 per license per year. Up to 99 licenses.||100|
|Business-plus||$250 per license per year. Up to 99 licenses per plan.||300|
|Enterprise||For over 250 licenses, contact Sales.||500, up to 1,000 for Enterprise Plus|
|Audio Conferencing||$1,200 a year*|
|Large Meetings||Starts at $600 per year.|
|Additional Cloud Storage||— 30 GB at $10/month.
— 100 GB at $40/month.
— 500 GB at $100/month.
— 3 TB at $500/month.
|Zoom Whiteboard||$24.90 per year.|
Billed at rates per call per country.*
|Pro||Local and 5 GB cloud recording per license|
|Business||Local and 5 GB cloud recording per license|
|Business-plus||Local and 10 GB cloud recording per license|
|Enterprise||Local and Unlimited cloud|
Source: Zoom Meeting SDK pricing
Customers using the Video SDK will be charged based on the total number of meeting session minutes in a month. Only the minutes attributed to meeting sessions launched by the Customer and/or users of the Customer's application ("Meeting Session Minutes") will be considered.
“if (5) five end users participate in a 10-minute meeting session through the Customer's application, then fifty (50) total Meeting Session Minutes will be used. Partial minutes used are rounded up.” Source.
The Video SDK is priced at two tiers:
Source: Zoom Video SDK pricing
The Zoom Video SDK allows users to stream a session to Facebook Live, YouTube Live, and other custom live streaming platforms. Information on pricing to stream content is unavailable.
The recording is available with a Video SDK account and a Cloud Recording Storage Plan. Information on pricing is unavailable. ****
The Zoom Meeting SDK is priced per user license and will scale with the number of licenses bought. It has 4 pricing tiers with a limit on the number of participants in each tier. Rates for recording also vary according to pricing tier.
The Zoom Video SDK is priced on the basis of the number of meeting session minutes in a month. Pricing is two-tiered: pay-as-you-go (10,000 free minutes/ month) or $1000/year (30,000 free minutes/month).
100ms offers a comprehensive product that includes both video conferencing and streaming. But, for the purpose of pricing, there is a distinction between the two.
To start with, 100ms offers 10,000 free minutes for conferencing each month and charges on the basis of usage once this limit is crossed. The total amount charged at the end of the month includes unit price, number of users, and number of minutes consumed.
If someone only uses 100ms for video conferencing, the 10,000 free minutes are first deducted. After this, video conferencing is charged at $0.004 per participant per minute. If it is an audio-only call, it is priced at $0.001 per participant per minute.
For example: If 10 people are on a call for 100 minutes, they end up using 1000 minutes. If the customer still has their free 10,000 minutes in the place, they are not charged at all. If the minutes are exhausted, then pricing kicks in at $0.004 per participant each minute.
However, if the host were to record this call, the rate for recording ($0.016 per participant minute) will apply from the very beginning.
The recording is charged at $0.016 per participant minute. The free minutes are not applicable to recording.
In the above example, 1000 minutes will be deducted from the customer’s free minutes, and the customer will not be charged for it. If the recording is enabled for the call, $1.60 will be the total cost incurred for the call.
Recording at this price is only permissible at 720p. **If a customer wants higher resolutions for recording, they need to reach out to 100ms Sales.
Pricing, therefore, will compound based on the number of people on the call, the duration of the call, and its quality.
100ms sets a bitrate cap at 4Mbps, until which the above rates apply. If the customer wants a higher bitrate, they have to opt for custom pricing.
|First 10,000 minutes||Free||Free||N/A|
|Price per participant per minute||$0.004||$0.001||<4 Mbps|
After the first 10,000 minutes are exhausted and recording is enabled for a video call, the cost will be calculated as follows:
($0.004 * Number of participants * Duration of call in minutes * Recording minutes)
100ms offers free 1,000 encoding & 10,000 streaming minutes every month.
The 10,000 free minutes only apply to stream viewers (charged $0.0012 per min). Broadcasters get 10,000 free minutes and are charged $0.004 per minute after exhausting their quota. Additionally, they get 1,000 free encoding minutes and are charged $0.040 after exhausting the quota. In total, for streaming, 100ms provides free minutes worth $92 off per month
Pricing for streaming is based on the cost incurred by the broadcaster themselves, the number of viewers watching the stream, the duration for which they are watching it, and the cost of external streaming for the same duration.
For instance, if a call is being streamed live on YouTube, the person broadcasting will pay the cost of the broadcast, for the duration, the audience watches that broadcast, and the cost of streaming out to YouTube itself.
As mentioned before, the per minute cost of broadcasting is $0.004 for every broadcaster, the cost per viewer per minute is $0.0012, encoding the stream costs $0.040 per minute and external streaming at $0.04 per minute. Limits in bitrate apply for each.
|First 10,000 streaming minutes & 1,000 encoding minutes||Free|
|External Streaming||$0.04/minute||max 720p|
If the person broadcasting a call also records it, they will be paying the charge applicable for recording ($0.016 per minute) on top of other charges. Again, the free minutes do not apply to recording.
After the first 10,000 minutes **are exhausted, pricing for someone who is broadcasting, recording, and streaming a call externally will be calculated as follows:
Broadcasting: (Number of Broadcasters * Stream duration * $0.004)
Encoding: (Stream duration * 0.040)
Streaming: (Number of viewers * Stream duration * $0.0012) +
Recording: (Stream duration * $0.016)
Pricing for 100ms scales with a number of users and minutes in a meeting or a stream.
Users get 10,000 free minutes per month for video conferencing. After that, they are charged $0.004 per participant per minute. The recording is charged $0.016 per participant minute, and free minutes do not apply to recording.
Broadcasters get 10,000 minutes per month for streaming. They also get 10,000 free minutes per month for stream viewers, and 1,000 minutes of stream encoding. After that, separate unit prices per minute apply for broadcasters, viewers, external streaming, and recording.
|Pricing Model||On the basis of usage||On the basis of usage||Charged per user (MAU)||Zoom Meeting SDK charged per host Zoom Video SDK charged as per usage||On the basis of usage|
Price per 1000 minutes depending on aggregate resolution:
Video HD: $3.99
Video Full HD: $8.99
Video 2K: $15.99
Video 2K+: $35.99
Twilio P2P: $0.0015 per participant per minute
Twilio Video Groups: $0.004 per participant minute. Cost is calculated on basis of price per participant minute, the number of participants per room, and the number of minutes each participant spends in the room.
|25 MAU: free 300 MAU: $99 a month 1,500 MAU: $499 per month 3,000 MAU: $999 a month For anything over and above, contact Jitsi Sales||
— $1,000/ year with 30,000 free minutes included per month. Priced at $0.003/min after free minutes
10,000 free minutes every month. $0.004 per participant each minute.
Cost is calculated on unit price, number of users, and number of minutes consumed.
|Streaming||Interactive live streaming is priced based on the participant minutes for host and audience as well as latency. Further details here.||Twilio Live—Video streaming: Speaker: $0.004/min Livestream creation: $0.10/min Audience:$0.0025/min||RTMP streaming: $0.01/min||
Meeting SDK: Streaming to third-party platforms on all paid plans.
Video SDK: Streaming allowed, but information on pricing unavailable.
100,000 free minutes per month.
External Streaming: $0.04/min
Per 1000 minutes:
Full HD: $13.49
|Available on Video Groups only. — $0.004 per participant minute — Recording compositions are charged at $0.01 per composed minute||$0.01/min||
— Business-Plus plan offers local and 10 GB cloud recording per license
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