MAM is Dead. Long Live The Smart MAM—Part 2

In part 2 of 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? Here’s Dalet’s Director of Marketing, Ben Davenport.

BD: If we turn the clock back 5-7 years ago, when file-based working was becoming the reality for the majority (rather than the 'bleeding-edge' projects that came before) it was certainly the case that, generally, MAM vendors had strengths in particularly business areas or workflow, whether that was around news, production, program prep or archive - to the extent that some facilities ended up with multiple MAM systems or, at the very least, a lot of overlapping technology that brought about this notion of siloed cultures. This has changed today with the new generation of MAM systems with centralised catalogues and core infrastructure that have workflow and task-specific tool sets for each business area enabling media organisations to deploy a single MAM for individual parts of the business or enterprise-wide.

How have manufacturers helped them to gear up for life in a multiplatform world?

BD: In many ways, the notion of an asset has changed. With linear delivery, an asset often equates to a single episode of a series and the "challenge" is to ensure that the individual asset passes through the workflow in time to go on-air. In a multi-platform world, particularly one of OTT On-demand and the box-set binge, the thing we monetise may actually represent a number of episodes or an entire series. The nature of the workflow therefore changes quite significantly with concepts of bulk work orders and grouped encode and distribution. While a number of content owners and distributors have kept their platforms for linear and new media distinct, smart MAM is able to combine the liner and multi-platform worlds, accommodating both the singular and multi-asset workflows and bringing to them the efficiencies of a single repository for rich metadata.

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

BD: As Nick Levin, Engineering Manager at Netflix, pointed out, closed captions and subtitles are now a primary asset. Considering all the ways in which captions could enter a workflow and all the manners in which legacy captions could be stored, the tool set required just to handle this critical piece of ancillary data is massive. Combine this with different audio, video and file wrapping requirements for all the different distributions forms and the low-level tool-set becomes massive. However, the role of a smart MAM here is to make this underlying number-crunching completely transparent to the users, ensuring that they can focus on business level and creative activities.

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

BD: This is, perhaps, the most critical element in any installation - the most difficult but also potentially the most beneficial when done. As mentioned above, the tool set requirements are significant and also constantly changing. The industry may talk of 'swiss-army-knife' media processors (e.g. in transcoding) but there is very rarely a single tool that will handle all requirements and even more rarely one that will do so well.

Ben Davenport, Dalet Director of Marketing

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