Video APIs: Functionality, Personalization, & Benefits

By Ed Laczynski on February 22, 2021


Video APIs are ushering in a new era of functionality and personalization in the world of streaming. Learn about seven popular types of Video API's and why they are important.

According to one of the largest databases of APIs, there are over 700 video APIs at the disposal of software developers. For product and development teams that leverage video APIs, the added functionality afforded to video functions is a clear path to increasing engagement while saving time and money.

Below, we look at some of the functionality, personalization, and benefits that video APIs can provide so you have a better understanding of how they may work for you.

Video APIs can serve to: 

  • Encode: compress an input file and prepare it for delivery over the internet. Companies decide how much to compress the file and how much data to discard. 
  • Stream (HLS): deliver media content to internet-enabled devices as a continuous stream of data and users can watch directly without downloading the data to their computer or device.
  • Live Stream (Encode + Event): stream live content from a mobile app, broadcast software, or hardware encoder and broadcast to any device.
  • Store Metadata (Thumbnails, Title, Description): retrieve, deploy, create, update or delete page layouts, and the content’s organization parameters. Intended for managing the metadata internal model, not editing the video content.
  • Manage Playout Services: playout programming, monetization, distribution, and analytics platforms.


7 Types of Popular Video APIs

The core types of Video APIs are:

  1. Video Platform 
  2. Content 
  3. Entitlements
  4. Monetization
  5. Video Player
  6. Authentication
  7. Analytics

Video Platform APIs

Video platform APIs are a clever way to manage your video content, usually with a built-in CMS, so you can easily import, manage, and curate videos and workflows. More sophisticated video infrastructure partners allow you to leverage subsets within the platform APIs, and manage specific types of parameters.

For example, if you are managing video playlists, some available functionality could be playlist creation, updating, deletion, and the ability to create relationships between two or more playlists. For example, if you had a “Comedy” playlist, a nested playlist could be “Dark Comedies,” “Slapstick Comedies,” or “Romantic Comedies.”

Similarly, these types of settings can be managed across video Categories, Apps, Subtitles, Devices, Video Sources, Users, Encoders, Live Events, and more.


Content Rule APIs

Content rule APIs allow you to set specific access to videos, categories, or playlists. 

For example, Zype’s Content Rules can deny countries that should not be allowed to view certain content. We also have a Consumer Super Watcher setting that provides specific privileges to administrators so they can bypass all content rules.


Video Entitlement APIs

Consumer entitlement APIs allow you to manage the use of paid or code redeemed content for specific consumers. Generally, these entitlements are given via monetization options such as with the purchase of a movie, playlists, or pass plans.


Monetization APIs

Video monetization APIs help to manage your subscribers. For example, you would start with the creation of the types of subscriptions you want to offer, then manage that subscription with updates, deletions, or cancellations. 

Other forms of video monetization that be realized within this type of API include video rentals, ads, or monetization frameworks around SVOD, TVOD, and AVOD. With pre-integrated payment solutions like PayPal, or Apple Pay, you can make upselling easier by offering your subscribers with solutions they are likely to already have.


Video Player APIs

Video player APIs help with complex processes related to a high quality streaming experience. This can include, for example, Adaptive Bitrate streaming support (ABR) to ensure a great viewing experience regardless of the viewer’s bandwidth. 

Other features of a video player API might include continuous play settings, age gates, analytics integrations, social sharing, attribution settings, and more.  


Consumer Authentication APIs

Using open protocols to allow secure authorization such as with OAuth, video providers can provide secure, delegated access.


Video Analytics APIs

Video analytics APIs help you to make important decisions based on what your viewers are watching, for how long, on what devices, and from which regions. 

The Zype video analytics API helps across several key categories:

  • Streaming analytics: shows how much content has been viewed during given time periods.
  • Engagement analytics: shows how viewers are watching content on their devices.
  • Attribution analytics: shows where video requests were generated from across the web.
  • Revenue analytics: shows how much revenue you’ve generated during given time periods from paywalled video content.
  • Consumer analytics: shows consumer activity such as sign-ups, transactions, cancellations, and metadata.

Examples of Video APIs

Most recently, Google made waves in 2020 with their Transcoder API release. This API facilitates the creation of consumer streaming formats for direct-to-consumer media content. Google’s transcoder API even includes functionality for an ad break keyframe. 

This function allows providers to insert their desired and tailored ads within their programming. Providers can leverage the Transcode API to distribute content through Google’s own Cloud Content Delivery Network (CDN) or via third-party CDNs. 

Amazon Web Services’ (AWS) Elemental API is another example of a video API that can be integrated into a company’s existing video hosting infrastructure. AWS Elemental “processes video streams in real time, taking a live video source and compressing it into multiple versions for distribution to viewers.” 

The arduous task of ensuring live video is accurately compressed for continuous, uninterrupted streaming is now possible on a large-scale by leveraging encoders that are powerful enough to produce an accurate and timely video playback experience. 

Low-level APIs, from cloud providers like AWS and Google, require you to build and integrate a series of products around it for content management systems (CMS) and paywalls. Other companies choose to invest in Video Infrastructure APIs that provide an all-encompassing package of features that are equipped to cut out the guesswork. 

Zype’s arrangement of products, for example, are designed to facilitate the publishing, management, personalization, and distribution of video across every channel from a single platform. 

Companies turn to Zype for expertly crafted API products that handle transcoding and delivery, content and playlist management, app endpoint management, playout, paywall, analytics, and connectors to other parts of the stack.


Should You Build Your Own Streaming Technology or Use APIs?

Companies are often faced with the decision of “do we build?” or “do we buy?” as they formulate their technology strategy for video streaming. When teams are tasked with building internally there are a slew of factors to coordinate; with plenty of room for errors--as well as personalization. The double-edged sword of building lies in the team’s ability to execute the task; while staying true to the established development budget. 

Otherwise, the arduous task could lead to costly mistakes that directly impact the project’s success and the client’s UX.  The building, optimizing, scaling, and maintaining of a video content platform is costly, time-consuming, and complex; especially for businesses whose expertise and primary focus lie elsewhere.


The Benefits of Leveraging APIs

If the ultimate goal is to create a compelling video streaming experience that increases a company’s reach and broadens its customer base while driving revenue, there is a strong argument for leveraging Video APIs. While the “build” process can be properly overseen by the right internal team of developers, many companies find that their time (and money) are better invested by utilizing APIs. 

Teams can still be in control of their innovation cycles while using APIs. The important aspect about video APIs, in particular, is that there are readily available services and integrations that can manage complex parts of their tech stack that will add considerable value. Rather than spending time and resources building these services from scratch, video APIs can handle much of the work that teams are seeking to implement.


Still Wondering, What Exactly Are Video APIs?

The term Video API is an umbrella term for any API that relates directly to the streaming and facilitating of video content. The API that a company elects to integrate with their video player or application will be the key determining factor that will dictate the quality of the end user’s viewing experience. 

Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) have grown in importance for decades, and their applications are now an essential piece of the app development process. APIs exist to facilitate communications among multiple servers, and now, with the rise of video streaming, video APIs are a crucial part of the OTT app pipeline. 

An API, differing from a plug-in that adds features to existing software, defines how a component interacts with a system and enables the communication between them.

There are many choices available to content-hungry consumers in the modern age of streaming. Forward-thinking OTT providers that are agile and care about personalizing their audience’s experience should incorporate video APIs to solve the video stack’s complexity.


OTT Apps & Zype’s Endpoint API

Zype’s Endpoint API Services allow customers to produce and publish custom OTT video streaming applications on the web and manage set-top, smart TV, gaming, and mobile app marketplaces. Zype’s platform creates a “realm” around a content owner’s property (website, OTT endpoints, mobile apps, etc.) where consumers can use the same single authentication method everywhere. All endpoint apps pass player requests and engagement analytics data back into the Zype platform.


Our Connected OTT Services:

  • Zype Web Embeddables
  • Zype OTT (Roku, Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV, iOS, Android Mobile, gaming consoles, smart TVs)
  • Zype app production tools (push-button production services for Roku, Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV)
  • Consumer account management widgets, device linking authentication widgets

Need Help? Ask the API Experts

If the world of API-first has left your team intrigued on how to proceed, and you are still unsure of just how to integrate APIs into streams or manage these different protocols, then reach out to our team of experts at Zype. We provide the infrastructure, APIs, and tools to help developers launch awesome video apps and experiences.

Zype provides easy to use API endpoints to build typically challenging workflows like creating, scheduling, and archiving Live Events through a single API call. We’ve built a comprehensive and connected API-first video infrastructure for engineers and developers to consider as they are developing their projects. 


Harness the power of Zype's video infrastructure