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Netflix is shutting down its public API today

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Netflix is shuttering its public API today, effectively ending support for a number of third-party apps that made use of the API to get TV and movie show titles as well as other data from the streaming service.

The move doesn’t come as a surprise; [company]Netflix[/company] stopped issuing new keys to its public API two years ago, which made it impossible for new developers to sign up and make use of the data. And in June, the company’s VP of Edge Engineering Daniel Jacobson announced that Netflix was retiring its public API altogether. In a post, he wrote:

To better focus our efforts and to align them with the needs of our global member base, we will be retiring the public API program. Effective on November 14, 2014, public API developers will no longer be able to access Netflix content.

Apps or mashups that have made use of the public API will return 404 error messages starting today. However, not all apps that incorporate Netflix data will break: The company has partnered with a small number of third-party developers to give them continued access to its data. These partners include NextGuide, Yidio, Fanhattan and Can I Stream It.

Netflix’s API was initially developed as a way for third parties to tap into Netflix’s catalog, but it also became a key piece of Netflix’s internal development when the company began to target living room devices. These days, Netflix’s API gets around five billion requests per day, primarily from Netflix’s own apps running on a variety of devices. Netflix’s public API on the other hand never saw huge traffic. Jacobson recently shared during a presentation at OSCON that eleven years worth of public API requests equal about one day of private API requests.

netflix oscon presentation

Chart courtesy of Daniel Jacobson / Netflix.

20 Responses to “Netflix is shutting down its public API today”

  1. Even in cases where Netflix wins out, DVD-only titles are now virtually unsearchable via third-party apps. I used to manage my Netflix queue almost exclusively in the iQueue iPhone app, which was vastly superior to Netflix’s web interface. Netflix’s mobile app has no tools whatsoever for viewing or queuing DVDs (unlike their mobile website, which is suboptimal but better than nothing. There’s only one remaining app that uses Netflix’s private API (i.e. via partnership): Flixster; all other apps only search the streaming library.

    That might not seem like a big deal for many consumers, but for those of us who watch a lot of foreign and independent films still have to get these selections in DVD form.

  2. If you are a regular NetFlix customer, this DOES mean something! It means they are taking away your ability to wade through mountains of useless streaming movies and find the good ones! Third party sites have been the ones who have been able to do any decent correlation between quailty ant the “droppings” you have available via Netflix streaming.

    And the blog from netflix is a joke! It took Nothing to maintain this API. They just decided to break it for unfathomable business reasons.

  3. shakoush2001

    The greatest part about Netflix is you can change regions around, I.e. USA Netflix with the most content, and other regions with Gems such as DE region that has the Big Bang Theory..on so on,see and all that for one Netflix subscription

  4. Hmm. My internet bandwidth never provided me with a good experience with Netflix streaming and the movie selection was and probably still is terrible. So here I am with a DVD/Blueray plan and no way to manage my DVD queue using a smartphone or tablet. What happens to those “valued customers” that don’t have a desktop or laptop and DVDs are preferred? Go somewhere else I guess.

  5. This sucks. I made a program search engine to movies and used the API to find movies i haven’t watches. So i didnt have to see the same crappy movies on favorite movies or see a movie i just have watched.

      • dannysebahar

        Perhaps he uses the Database for personal endeavors. It is Netflix’ to do with what they choose and warning was given providing ample time for arrangements to be made (there has to be other internet movie databases out there right?…) so I’m not sure anyone who received the free service can complain without sounding selfish and narcissistic