Developers Can’t Make Movie Apps Anymore

A few days ago I brainstormed an app idea to help users find movies they want to watch on Redbox and Netflix. A small app, nothing grandiose or too ambitious, but a simple app that would do a job.

In order for me to create these apps, I need to be able to pull (public) information from these services. Redbox inventory differs from location to location, and Netflix’s inventory changes as their movie rights expire and new titles are added.

I’m astonished at the lack of developer support from Netflix and Redbox. As of about a month ago, Netflix shut down its API service to developers.

This change means that developers can’t create an app that helps people find Netflix movies to watch. Even if you want to grab publicly digestible information like the list of movies on Netflix Instant.

Redbox has an API, but you have to apply… and wait… for them to approve of your “application” – basically you have to tell them what you’re building, your business model, etc. Considering I could probably count with one hand the number of Redbox apps out there, I am guessing that Redbox doesn’t quite see eye-to-eye with most developers’ API applications.

Hulu doesn’t even offer an official API and developers have to resort to reverse engineered libraries.  Amazon Instant does have an API, but it is stupidly wrapped under the overly complex Amazon’s Product Advertising API umbrella.

This is sad.

There is a problem in movie discovery, many people struggle to find movies they want to watch, and developers have their hands tied behind their back trying to fix this problem.

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