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watson cost

What does Watson Cost? What is the Price?

UPDATE: The Watson price table below is now updated as of April 24th 2017. Differences from the prior table are documented in my Watson Pricing and Language Updates post, where I have documented the differences in pricing as well as changes in what languages Watson supports since my last post on Watson language support from Dec 2015. Only the table below is updated. The table from Aug 2016 is still available here.

How much does Watson cost? What is the price model? Enterprise software price models are never easy and when entering the API-era it does not get simpler, but it often gets more open. This is all applicable to Watson. Unfortunately, the Watson cost is split, much like what languages that Watson supports, it is listed in different places for each service / API. For my own pleasure (not entirely true) I created a cheat sheet. It is included below both as a link to the actual Google Spreadsheet as well as an embedded table.

Worth noting is that these are the public pricing and I am fairly confident that they stick pretty hard to this structure, but there are discounts involved for partners and enterprises, these are not entirely public, but since being involved with some products / projects I know they are pretty fair.

Also worth noting is that most of the services has a premium offering to move from the public shared cloud and instead go for a “single tenant instance” / private cloud setup that will ensure better encryption and compute-level isolation. I have an upcoming post on security coming up as well.

The source of the prices included in the document is from both the Watson Services Catalog as well as the Watson services on Bluemix.

This post is more of sharing then trying to make a statement or write an intelligent post, it is simply sharing an aggregated sheet I made and maybe others can find it useful in some way.

Watson Cost and Price Model Cheat Sheet

UPDATE: 31st of July: New pricing for Discovery Service and Discovery News. Post from IBM: “New pricing for Watson Discovery Service“.

Watson Price & Cost table

The cover photo is from a visit to NASDAQ in NYC a while back


Watson Products, what are they?


Tell me what I do not know!


  1. rama

    Great article, esp. demystifying pricing, but apparently they moved their most valuable API discovery news, to Discovery, a separate app, could you plz clarify pricing– 0.10 per news query implies per web page? per pdf? per book? What size, and apparently this provides a digest? Also, price for RAM, is that weekly, monthly, one-time? What is enrichment? Thanks for answering my naive questions.

    • Hi Rama, your question was well on time, since the pricing for Discovery Service was completely remade the 31st of July. It is now much simpler and more straight forward. Here is a link to the new pricing for Watson Discovery Service (incl Discovery News)

      I will try to anser your questions based on the new price model.

      1. Price per query.
      It is a price per API query. If you use the Tooling, it resembles one “query”, so it is not dependent of documents, pdfs or similar. As an example. If you have a chatbot that helps you search for news through Discovery News, one query is when you ask Discovery for news e.g “positive news about Electrolux”.

      In the new price-model you can ask 1000 queries for free and thereafter it is $0.10 per query as you wrote.

      2. If you want to use Discovery Service, and not the already pre-enriched Discovery News, to ingest you own data, then there is a volume-based pricing as well. Today WDS supports, html, pdf, word and JSON. If I am not mistaken pdfs and word docs are converted to html and then to JSON by WDS.

      The current limits are as follows: 2000 docs for free (200mb in max 2 collections). See picture below for additional tiers.

      3. Prices for RAM. Those are also updated, but now in a simpler way. See image on new pricing for full description. They are all based on a monthly period for invoicing (even though invoicing usually lags a bit).

      4. What is enrichments? That is the main purpose of using Discovery Service (or Discovery News), it adds cognitive information to unstructured data. One way it does this in Discovery News is that it determines if a news has a positive or negative sentiment (including a confidence score), other enrichments are entities, categories etc which results in Discovery News to be able to tell us that a news is about Champions League, Real Madrid and Christiano Ronaldo etc. As of recently it is the same as Natural Language Understanding, but stored in the cloud instead of just passing the enrichments through an API as NLU does. You can also create your own models using Watson Knowledge Studio (and create your own enrichments that apply to your specific domain, as IBM has done with News, that model is specifically built for news).

      No question is naive in regards to Watson and AI etc, it is a new field and it is not the easiest one to digest. I hope this made some sense to you, otherwise just reply.

  2. Kingsley Shola Ayinde

    How can we use Watson in a Government Ministry or Government agencies?

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