REVEALED: The Astonishing Growth of Netflix’s API

In a presentation to Paypal’s (NASDAQ:EBAY) engineering team, Daniel Jacobson, director of engineering for Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX), gave out some startling figures relating to the growth of its API (Automatic Programming Interface) requests. In January, Netflix received around 42 billion API requests, compared to just 600 million in January 2010, increasing 70-fold in just two years.

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That’s a telling comment on the robust architecture employed in the design of its API.

Even more important, the popularity of the API is linked to its own service, which is being streamed across a huge range of connected devices — more than 800 different models, according to the presentation.

Netflix originally built its API with third-party developers in mind, having them build websites and apps to manage one’s DVD queue and similar things. For that reason, API requests in 2008 came exclusively from open API developers. In 2011, the vast majority came from Netflix devices like the Roku, Sony’s (NYSE:SNE) PS3, and Microsoft’s (NASDAQ:MSFT) Xbox.

Given the trend, it is not surprising that Netflix engineers are concentrating all their efforts on API development with the objective of increasing the reach of the API across more devices and user interfaces.

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