5 Video APIs and how they can benefit your business

video APIs

Almost all businesses offer a website, web application, or mobile application that allows customers to interact with the business, make purchases, and consume content. Increasingly, all these communication channels are dominated by video. Video is more engaging than text-based content and results in higher conversion rates and revenues. For businesses in the media industry and those engaging in content marketing, video is a must to achieve mindshare in almost every industry.

However, video content has its challenges. It is complex and expensive to produce and requires specialized technical expertise to deliver to viewers. Fortunately, multiple vendors are providing application programming interfaces (APIs) that provide managed, pre-packaged video services. Via these APIs, developers can integrate video functionality into websites and applications quickly and easily – reducing your time to market for video content and functionality.

What is a Video API?

A video API lets you create, deliver, and store video content. Video APIs often provide capabilities for retrieving and analyzing information about your live-streaming and on-demand videos. The main advantage of using a video API is the flexibility it offers—you can develop and configure the API for various use cases.

Video APIs often focus on a particular aspect of creating or delivering video content. For example, some APIs specialize in live streaming videos to devices and applications, while others transcode video files for various uses.

Benefits of Video APIs

Here are a few key benefits of video APIs.

Cloud-Based Storage

Because video files are large, it is impractical to store video content on a web server. Video APIs provide access to inexpensive cloud storage services such as Amazon S3 and Google Cloud Storage. The Video API typically handles cloud storage on the backend, so there is no need to integrate directly with the cloud.

This has three advantages:

  • You can scale up video content without running out of space
  • Video is already deployed in the cloud and can be served nearer to end-user locations

Mobile and Web Applications

Creating video-based web and mobile applications can be difficult and time consuming. Consider an app that can record, display, or stream video on demand. Video APIs make it possible to provide all these capabilities without building proprietary video functions into an application, avoiding the need to create custom encodings or integrate individual video streaming components.

Video Encoding and Delivery

You can use a Video API to automatically transcode uploaded videos into a variety of web-friendly formats. You can also use APIs to optimize video files for web browsers or mobile devices. In addition, many video platforms deliver video over content delivery networks (CDNs) to reduce viewer loading and buffering times for viewers.

Top Video APIs

Here are some of the leading video APIs (placed in alphabetical order as per their names).

Cloudinary Video APIs

Cloudinary provides cloud-based management solutions for videos and images. Its capabilities include upload, storage, optimization, and management, though the main use for the Cloudinary service is video delivery on web apps and websites. Cloudinary offers video APIs for the main programming languages.

Cloudinary video APIs provide the following capabilities:

  • Real-time transcoding—automatically transcodes videos into any file format and converts them to the most efficient codec and format.
  • Intelligent compression—automatically adjusts encoding and compression settings for faster loading and smoother playback.
  • Dynamic video editing—uses AI to edit video content, including automatically adding text or subtitles, adding video or image overlays, and cropping.
  • Video player—Cloudinary’s lightweight video player API is HTML5-based and enables API access to controls, configuration, and video player elements on web pages.

Dacast Video Content Management API

The Dacast integrated streaming service supports video-on-demand (VOD) and live streaming platforms. It offers a RESTful API based on JSON, which you can use with any programming language. The Dacast Video Content Management API lets you integrate Dacast features into your cloud-based workflows and video applications.

The Dacast API lets you live-stream on Facebook or via a multi-CDN, publish videos to an HTML5 video player, add advanced features such as pay-per-view, and stream through webcams or RTMP digital camera feeds. You can also maintain control over the content you publish while allowing other users to embed your content on an external website.

The API provides an analytics dashboard and capabilities such as referrer limits and password protection.

IBM Video Streaming APIs

IBM Watson Media offers a video streaming service for creating, storing, managing, broadcasting, and evaluating the impact of recorded (on-demand) and live-streamed video content.

The IBM Video Streaming service is scalable and can simulate live broadcasts, broadcast simultaneously over multiple channels, and open video files protected with a password. It has a built-in multi-content delivery network (CDN) and provides intuitive video encoding for live streaming and broadcasting applications, webcams, and broadcasts using RTMP.

IBM Video Streaming offers these video APIs:

  • Video Player API—manages video player capabilities and enables layout customization. Maintains a constant data connection to IBM’s servers.
  • Channel API—manages channels, video content, organizations, and accounts. Provides a white-label streaming media platform and enables you to build multiple channels on your account.
  • Video Analytics API—provides detailed telemetry and viewer engagement data for on-demand and live-streamed video content consumption. Lets you customize your data feeds.

Vimeo API

Vimeo API is an automated API that lets you upload files to Vimeo using your own application. You can use the API to manage your content and embed video files into your web apps or websites.

Vimeo API includes these video APIs:

  • Video Player API—lets users use webpage code to interact with Vimeo players. You can modify the default features of Vimeo’s video player, including autoplay, playback, looping, color adjustments, and player dimensions.
  • Upload API—provides various video management and upload functionalities. Lets you use your own front-end application to upload to Vimeo.
  • Embed API—lets you embed Vimeo videos using the oEmbed open standard (as opposed to API). Makes it easy to place videos from the Vimeo platform on an external website.

YouTube Data API

The YouTube Data API lets you programmatically access YouTube videos, receive data feeds, and search and view video content. The API is RESTful and responds in XML.

This API enables applications to authenticate users—authorized users can then upload videos or modify playlists. It lets you personalize your website or web app using your existing data.

The YouTube Data API lets you introduce YouTube functionality to an app or website—you can use the API to perform various tasks such as modifying channel settings, managing playlists, and uploading videos. It also supports features such as comments and video ratings. You can use the YouTube Data API to search for specific content based on characteristics such as topic, publication date, and location.


In this article, I explained the basics of video APIs and their business benefits, including the ability to store video content on the cloud, integrate video functionality with mobile and web applications, and seamlessly perform video encoding and delivery for any channel or device.

In addition, I presented several video APIs that can help you get to market quicker with video features:

  • Cloudinary—a multi-purpose media platform that lets you upload video content, transform it into the design and format you need, and display it to viewers.
  • IBM Video Streaming—provides a video player API, content organization and streaming, and video analytics.
  • Vimeo and YouTube API—provides programmatic access to these popular video sharing services.
  • Dacast—a video platform that supports live streaming and VOD and supports HTML5 and RTMP playback.

I hope this will be useful as you integrate video into your websites and applications.

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