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RIP: Netflix’s Public API Bites The Dust

RIP: Netflix’s Public API Bites The Dust
[Photo: Flickr user Shardayyy]

If you were daydreaming about building an app that taps into Netflix’s huge trove of movies and TV shows, we’re sorry to say that your dreams are officially crushed. As of today, the video streaming giant is axing its public API, effectively cutting off developers from accessing its data without a special partnership.

It’s not as though devs are being caught off guard. Netflix announced this move in June, so everyone’s had plenty of time to come up with a plan B or move onto something different. It’s a bummer for the open, mashup-able web. But Netflix is leaving the door open for official partnerships.

The casualties won’t be all that widespread: Public API calls make up a tiny percentage of the activity Netflix sees. Most of the requests–about five billion per day, according to GigaOm–come from Netflix’s various apps across phones, tablets, connected TVs and other devices with the video service built in.

And in an effort to keep some of the more popular third-party services chugging along, Netflix has entered into formal partnerships with some developers who will be able to access their firehose of content data. So if you’re into Fanhattan, Yidio, NextGuide, or Can I Stream It?, there’s no need to freak out.

Several other apps and sites will start returning 404 errors as of today. One such unlucky service is Letterboxd, a social network focused on movies. In a blog post, cofounder Matt Buchanan announced that despite their efforts to keep the feature alive, Letterboxd is shutting down its Netflix integration today. To placate frustrated users, Letterboxd is offering refunds to its paid members.

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