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Netflix putting public API out to pasture in November

updated 02:05 pm EDT, Sun June 15, 2014

Steaming service ending API to focus on other efforts, eight applications partner directly

Netflix announced last week that it would be ending its public API program in an effort to better focus their efforts internally. The company stated that any requests through the public API after November 14 will be unable to access any content. Netflix announced a year ago that it would no longer be issuing new API keys to developers, or accept new affiliates.

The movie streaming site began offering the API and supporting developer community in October 2008. The program was launched to give users more integration with other programs, and to allow access to metadata from the titles the company streams to customers. Users would be able to add items to their queue from other locations, or access a number of Atom RSS feeds from within the Rest API. Netflix provided the API at no cost, and allowed it to be used in commercial applications.

In a blog post by Vice President of Edge Engineering Daniel Jacobson, the company said that after the deadline, all calls to Netflix through the API will return a 404 error.

"Thank you to all of the developers who have participated in the ecosystem throughout the years," said Jacobson.

However, Netflix won't be ending third party support entirely. A select number of applications will continue to work through a direct partnership with the company. These applications include Can I Stream It, Fanhattan, FeedFliks, Flixster, Instant Watch Browser for Netflix, Instant Watcher, NextGuide and Yidio.

The move comes as Netflix looks to focus on its growing business. The company now has 48 million customers globally, so growth through an API program could no longer be considered beneficial. Considering that many API requests pull data from customer queues, it could also be seen as a liability to continue to allow third-parties to have read and write access.

With Netflix fighting battles with Internet providers, such as Verizon, and paying out for peering deals, the move could also bring some power back to the hands of the company. Cutting off the developer API program gives Netflix the ability to control data and what these remaining applications do, while no longer giving away a free product that others can profit from.

by MacNN Staff




  1. sammaffei

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: 09-04-04

    How is this news?

    NetFlix has been phasing out their API for almost a year now. I can't tell you how many iPhone developers have been hurt by this. Really good Netflix content search / launch apps that had the legs chopped out from under them.

  1. Charles Martin

    MacNN Editor

    Joined: 08-04-01

    The phase-out is noted in the first paragraph of the story, but it is news because the company has now set an end date for complete termination.

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