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Netflix stops third-party apps from tracking when streaming titles expire

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Netflix iPhone 5
Netflix iPhone 5

Back in March Netflix announced it wouldn't allow new developers to utilize its Public API, and now the company has removed a feature from existing apps after the API led to some unwanted attention. As explained in the Netflix API Developer Blog, the company will no longer relay when titles are set to expire from its streaming library. The shift comes after expiration data — collected via the API by InstantWatcher — revealed that Netflix would be losing nearly 1,800 titles from its streaming library over the course of this month.

At the time, Netflix made it clear that the reduction in titles was part of the normal ebb and flow of its business; the company frequently loses titles as licensing deals expire, and brings in new films and television shows as other deals are closed. In the post on its blog, Netflix's Daniel Jacobson writes that the company is making the API change "because the expiration date can be inaccurate as a result of frequent, often last minute, changes in content flow." However, despite the volatility of the information Netflix isn't removing it from its system overall — visiting a given program's Netflix page will still reveal when it will be leaving the service. Whether the change was a direct reaction to the stories last month isn't entirely clear, but in any case it will prevent sites and apps from revealing any major shifts in Netflix's streaming catalog: InstantWatcher has already announced it's retiring its "Expiring Soon" section.