The Evolving MAM system

OTT revenues are set to rocket to $42 billion by 2020, creating opportunities and threats in equal measure for media owners. As consumers are awash with great content on exciting new platforms, behind the scenes the logistics elements of the TV supply chain are creaking and starting to show their age: The old MAM architectures no longer appear to meet the new media management challenges.

Traditional features of MAMs do not help content owners meet the challenges of new media consumption habits, resulting in a failure to deliver on their promise. Older MAMs are:

  • Monolithic
  • On-Premise
  • Siloed and partially closed
  • Separate from workflow
  • Inflexible on user interface
  • Require hefty integration
  • Risky to implement

With consumer technology and audience behaviour driving the need for content owners to be nimble with their media management, coupled with a disruptive play by new entrants such as Google, Amazon, Apple, Netflix, and Spotify, many broadcast incumbents have created new personalized, multi-screen service experiences to test audience appetite. This has now become core business as consumer take-up of these new services has rocketed.

The success of multi-screen, personalised video services, growing platform fragmentation, and the competitive requirement to profitably deliver content at scale hugely increases the complexity of the video supply chain that is now fundamentally non-linear. The commercial cost of getting this supply chain management wrong is also increased with traditional processes and architectural models, engineered for predictable, linear schedule services, compounded by a lack of file format standardization and the challenge of legacy systems still largely engineered for a logistics model dictated by tape resulting in a system that is unfit for purpose.

What this has left is a media logistics and supply chain challenge for premium media. On the delivery side, the market is served by solutions that offer service delivery and service management for the multi-screen consumer, the now mature Online Video Platform (OVP) market. This space has reached a point in its development where there are a small number of market-leading players such as OoyalathePlatformBrightcove, and Kaltura, as well as major vendors such as Ericsson and Cisco.

As the fight for viewers continues, there is a need to target viewers more accurately with the right content and the right commercial model. The upstream elements of the value chain need to support an end-to-end platform-approach and replace silo-ed media management systems if this efficiency is to be realised. The MAM as we know it is unfit to do this, which has led to the development of MLPs, or Media Logistic Platforms.

The new TV marketplace has created the need for modular media management platforms and services to help media companies manage this complexity – to be that vital media management and staging platform for producers, aggregators and service providers. This demand has created supply. A range of players in the media technology and services market have launched platform propositions in this otherwise undefined market including incumbents such as TechnicolorDeluxe and Sony DADC, as well as new entrants such as Nativ.

Key features of Media Logistic Platforms are:

  • Production integration into the heart of pre-production and production processes to gather data at source
  • Asset management platforms in their own right
  • End-to-end and file-based management of both data and media
  • Multi-tenanted architecture with a single software platform serving multiple customers
  • Data continuity
  • API driven to avoid vendor lock-in and inexpensive plugging into best of breed services both on premise and in the cloud
  • Flexible delivery
  • Collaboration
  • Workflow automation
  • Modularity and configurability
  • Data driven

Workflow is more important than MAM. Storing and retrieving content is important but far more important is the requirement to mobilise media and think in terms of workflow and media logistics. Data continuity and an end-to-end data-driven approach is key to assessing the performance of TV content and targeting the right audiences with content they are prepared to pay for. Not every MAM vendor will make the leap to MLP model. While technology started it, economics will drive it. Ultimately consumer technology ignited cross-platform TV and it is driving innovation upstream in the production and post-production markets. The key driver now is making production and distribution of premium content at scale as efficient as possible and data driven.

Just as the OVP market has seen rapid growth and an accelerated journey to maturity, so the MLP market is now set for growth, as premium media companies look to solve the media management and logistic challenges that are today acting as an impediment to growth.

Jon Folland is CEO of Nativ.

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