Netflix Kills Off Its Public API, Takes A Few Applications Down With It

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Are you a developer? Do you have a brilliant idea for the next Netflix-powered app?

Too bad!

Netflix’s public API is now dead. If you’ve previously built something that tapped Netflix for its data, it’s probably dead now too.

The move isn’t surprising – just disappointing. Netflix first locked down its API two years ago, barring any newcomers from gaining access.

As of this weekend, however, even those who’ve had access to the API for years have been given the boot.

Only a very, very short list of apps will live on as partners, presumably being given access to a private API. InstantWatcher, CanIStreamIt?, Flixster, Fanhattan, Yidio, and a few other lucky ones carry one.

But apps like A Better Queue, which we wrote up last year as “A way to find movies worth watching on Netflix”, are shutting the doors today. Write’s ABetterQueue’s developer Dave Jachimiak:

Sadly, it’s the end of the road for A Better Queue. It relied on Netflix’s public API, and Netflix retired the API on November 14th, 2014 .

Thanks to everyone who sent feature requests over the past couple of years. I had more plans for A Better Queue, but once I realized that the Netflix API retirement was imminent, it became clear that putting more effort into the project wasn’t worth the time.

It’s a bummer, but perhaps for the best.. at least until Netflix is willing to put the time into making an API that isn’t terrible.

Their API would often change without much notice, its documentation was weak at best, and they offered up two entirely separate APIs, neither of which really ever had a full feature set. Want to help people find a sci-fi movie from 1985? Easy. Want to provide a button that’ll consistently open the Netflix app and start playing that movie? Good luck with that.

Meanwhile, Netflix’s U.S. growth has stagnated. Pity there’s no API for developers to experiment with to try and fix that.