MAM is Dead. Long Live Media Logistics—Part 1

In this special feature we contend that MAM as we’ve known it is dead and that today’s broadcaster and content delivery firm want a media logistics solution which encompasses all ingest, production, distribution and archive with rich metadata including rights. If so, are the tools in most MAM’s appropriate at ‘orchestrating’ all of these assets? We asked select vendors to comment. First up, here’s Nick Ryan, CTO and Co-Founder, Nativ.

Nick Ryan: In terms of 'material' assets e.g. video, audio, images, subtitles etc. all the MAMs have it covered. That is their heritage. Moving to ancillary data such as metadata and rights is where things start to diversify. This is because you're moving further away from technical standards and deeper into the business domain where each and every organisation is different. In terms of metadata, MAMs generally aim to support over-arching metadata standards (for example EBUCore) while also trying to provide mechanisms for flexible custom schema definitions. Rights data is even more complex and organisation specific - this is where standalone rights management systems come to the fore and hence integration starts to play a part.

When you want to do more than browse, annotate and download your assets, when you want to start repurposing and delivering, this is where orchestration really comes into play. Orchestration doesn't  need to be within the MAM,particularly if the processes you are mapping involve purely business level data. However if you start bringing media, media processing and delivery into the mix, then in my opinion it helps if there is a strong connection between the media, metadata and orchestation. Traditional MAM vendors are in the process of adding such functionality into their systems.

Content preparation and delivery firms are required to deliver assets to an ever increasing variety of platforms. How have manufacturers helped them to gear up for life in a multiplatform world?

NR: The traditional approach, and really the only approach that manufacturers could take at the time, was to support many and varied delivery formats, codecs and protocols. More recently the industry as a whole has rallied around MPEG DASH. This successfully consolidates some of the technology required for delivery to consumers. If you consider that browser support for HTML5 video is reaching maturity then the delivery problem really is being solved.

What are the tools they need to create, deliver and store video files and metadata for broadcast, VoD, mobile, and web in one workflow?

NR: There are a lot of systems out there that can cover part of this function, and linking them together to form one workflow for your business is what a lot of companies struggle with every day. This is where MioEverywhere can really add value by providing orchestration and single workflows across the entire media supply chain. MioEverywhere also doesn’t force you to move away from your preferred editing, delivery or storage solutions – by providing a pluggable and composable model, businesses are able to layer MioEverywhere on top of their existing functional infrastructure to provide insight and workflow management of the entire end to end process.

How important is the ability to integrate tools from a range of vendors?

NR: Very. A MAM that claims to do everything won't be doing anything to 'best in class' standards. QC, transcode, format conversion... these are all things where specialist vendors come into their own. Integration allows for existing infrastructure to be migrated gradually: customers don't want to hear that investing in new MAM capabilities means that several other tools they have invested in and standardised on will no longer be used. Integration allows for flexibility: different tools in the organisation can be independently upgraded or swapped out as technologies improve or requirements change. Again on the standards side of things this is where FIMS can help out if it gains more traction.

Is it best to adopt a single system or opt for a modular workflow?

NR: Following on from the last point about integration I just can't see a day where one system will sufficiently encompass everything. However this doesn't mean that the service as a whole can't appear to the end user as one system - this is where workflow orchestration together with integration really come to the fore. However focusing on a single system interface may not be the most best approach - end users across the organisation in operations, legal, technical, craft edit etc. need to access the system via an interface that is appropriate and familiar to them.

With enterprise installations of Mio we've had success with several different hybrid interface scenarios:

- surfacing pre-existing or custom built interfaces directly within the Mio UI

- providing UI and functional plugins to high end media tools to allow people working in edit suites to use the same interface for everything.

- treating Mio as 'headless' and integrating via it's API only. Existing system UIs or custom application UIs can integrate to Mio's API and surface the required information and functionality.

If you look to the cloud, media based SaaS platforms (Mio included) provide a single interface to the user, but they all integrate behind the scenes with any number of individual tools and systems.

Nick Ryan, CTO and Co-Founder, Nativ.

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