Little Cinema Digital Power Interactive Entertainment Experiences With Stream Chat

Emily R.
Emily R.
Published April 2, 2024

Challenge: Little Cinema Digital required a scalable chat solution to support interactive and immersive entertainment experiences for its global partners.

Strategy: After leveraging an alternative chat solution for its first two events, Little Cinema Digital found and integrated Stream Chat with a lean development team in under a week.

Result: Little Cinema Digital and Stream have enjoyed a successful four-year partnership, and the companies continue to support one another in the evolving digital entertainment landscape.


About Little Cinema Digital 

Jonathan Blair is the CTO and co-founder of Little Cinema Digital (LCD), a company specializing in interactive digital content. LCD primarily serves the media and entertainment industry, offering services ranging from supporting the release of new films to behind-the-scenes glimpses and ways for companies to build their own experiences.

The company powers interactive virtual, digital, and hybrid experiences for trusted partners, including Twitch, Amazon, Netflix, Paramount, HBO Max, Peacock, Warner Brothers, and Showtime. Chat is a key element of these experiences and provides guests a way to connect more deeply with other fans and the content they love.

We've leveraged Stream to provide innovative audience engagement via chat, with custom reactions, verified status indicators, and user metadata to create immersive experiences. We wrapped all the features of Stream into a simple module that can be dropped onto a page to add robust chat functionality to any experience in seconds.

These strategies apply to Little Cinema Digital's collaborations with Amazon Prime and Disney Junior, where the cast and characters can discuss certain scenes and interact with the audience in real time, further reinforcing meaningful engagement with the audience and enhancing their connection to the content.

The example above showcases a partnership "in full bloom." Little Cinema Digital partnered with Netflix to host their highly anticipated 'sneak peek' digital event for Bridgerton Season 3. Over 30,000 fans joined from all over the world for an exclusive advanced look at Season 3. This included a live Q&A powered by Stream Chat with the creators and talent to expand the reach of their content and create viral conversations around their IP.

Challenges with Previous Solutions

Initially, LCD utilized Twilio for SMS verification and chat during streaming events. However, they encountered limitations such as restricted user counts per channel (100 or less) and cumbersome development experiences.

"We needed a solution that could scale. If we had gone with an RTI solution, we would've had to build more than we'd like to in-house. Ultimately, there are two goals of the business. The first is that we want to build powerful creation tools and the second is to tailor the experience to our guest needs. Building out chat infrastructure and managing it doesn't fall into either," Blair says.

As the business expanded, LCD needed a scalable solution to seamlessly support intimate and large-scale events while minimizing custom development efforts.

Transition to Stream

LCD transitioned to Stream to power its chat functionality, finding it more efficient and scalable for their needs. Unlike previous solutions, Stream's Chat API provided robust developer tools that allowed LCD to quickly integrate chat features into their platform.

We got everything up and running in less than a week.

This agility was crucial for LCD, especially considering their spiky usage patterns and the diverse range of content they offered, including geo-blocked events and global events that required low latency

Customization and Scalability

One of the key advantages of Stream for LCD was its flexibility and scalability. LCD leveraged Stream Chat's UI kit for most components while maintaining the ability to build custom features on top of Stream's foundation, like slow mode. The ability to fine-tune the experience while still benefiting from Stream's infrastructure was pivotal for meeting their specific requirements and enhancing user engagement.

Moderation and User Experience

Stream's built-in moderation tools alleviated LCD's previous concerns with Twilio regarding long-term management and allowed them to efficiently moderate chat content using blocklists and customizable moderation settings. Additionally, features like slow mode and emoji-only mode enhanced user experience by maintaining chat flow and providing interactive elements, respectively.

Flexibility and Documentation

LCD appreciated Stream's comprehensive chat documentation, which Blair calls "better than most," and its flexibility in integrating custom UI components alongside Stream's prebuilt features.

One problem with vendors claiming to provide an OOTB experience is that, at some point, you find the edge of that box. Most of the time, you have to find a new solution. But with Stream, there is always an escape hatch at the edge of the box that prevents us from looking elsewhere, especially as we continue to create more experiences with custom and branded UI elements.

Unlike other solutions they had considered, Stream provided a seamless experience without limiting LCD's ability to innovate and tailor their streaming experiences to their audience's needs.

Conclusion

Incorporating Stream Chat into their streaming events has enabled LCD to find a true partner in delivering immersive and interactive experiences to their audience while efficiently managing scalability, customization, and moderation.

I can count on one hand the number of vendors we still have from four years ago, and Stream is one of them.

By leveraging Stream's robust infrastructure and developer-friendly tools, LCD continues to innovate and expand its offerings in the dynamic landscape of interactive content creation and streaming.

Integrating Video with your App?
We've built a Video and Audio solution just for you. Check out our APIs and SDKs.
Learn more ->