Hulu, a leading streaming platform, offers a vast selection of TV shows, movies, and original content, making it an attractive developer database. An Application Programming Interface (API) from Hulu would allow developers to gather tremendous information and incorporate them into novel applications. But does Hulu offer an API to developers just like its competitor, Netflix, once did?
The short answer – No. Hulu doesn’t publicly provide an API for developers. They have an internal API essential for their services, but the company has decided not to offer it to developers.
Why doesn’t Hulu offer a public API?
Given the proprietary nature of the content, Hulu seeks tight control over its data and user experience. Movies, TV shows, and streaming platforms vie in a highly competitive digital space. Companies like Hulu might perceive public APIs as gateways for data breaches or misuse of its content. Since content data is a precious asset to these platforms, retaining sole control is paramount.
The lack of an API doesn’t mean developers have no recourse. Several websites and applications integrate Hulu services into their platforms using different methods. Many use deep linking or a uniform resource identifier (URI) scheme. This process allows users to be redirected to specific content within the Hulu app via external links.
Are there alternatives to Hulu API?
While they may not fully compensate for lacking a Hulu equivalent, other movie database APIs can help developers create related applications. One such tool is the Reelgood API, a community-built movie and TV database offering a robust API widely used by developers.
Another is the Internet Movie Database (IMDb) API, one of the most comprehensive movie databases on the Internet. Although IMDb does not provide an official API, several unofficial APIs scrape IMDb data, which can benefit developers.
The Entertainment Identifier Registry (EIDR) also provides a universally unique identifier for movie and television assets. This, too, can be a handy resource for developers.
While it’s disappointing that Hulu does not offer an API for developers, it’s important to remember that the landscape of APIs offered by streaming services is ever-changing. Services are often compelled to adapt to market trends, implying that a future Hulu API isn’t impossible. In the meantime, developers can make do with the several other databases and APIs available, continuing to innovate and creating engaging streaming applications.