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Far From Dead, MAM is Evolving, says Grass Valley

The latest in our series exploring the future of MAM as a non-siloed enterprise-wide tool for modern multi-platform workflows is from Grass Valley. With commentary by Régis André, senior director of product management, Digital Media Workflows. He says that as the industry changes the lines are blurring between what users expect from a MAM or a PAM.

Régis André: Traditionally, a PAM would primarily focus on relatively short-term production cycles, providing quick and easy access to material in environments where fast turnaround is essential. The MAM would then be complementary beyond the daily, weekly, monthly production cycles, to provide a wider asset management environment for the longer term.

Live feed ingest, editing, topping/tailing content, review and approval… all of these workflow requirements would typically be served by a PAM, whereas a MAM would provide the tools to manage content once it has been produced, storing enterprise-wide assets and providing the toolsets for users to manage their long-term archive, transcoding, billing, etc.

However, such terminology is perhaps less applicable to the complex needs of today’s content makers and distributors, who increasingly require a blend of what traditionally would have been considered PAM or MAM functions.

Broadcast Bridge: Is MAM a library management system or an end-to-end content lifecycle platform?

Again, the interpretation varies from manufacturer to manufacturer, but certainly it has changed a lot over the past couple of years. Maybe some MAM systems began as pure library management, but the remit has greatly expanded for both PAM and MAM products to adapt and adjust to individual client requirements.

We can no longer assume that a MAM or PAM system is going to fulfill every need for today’s content creators. What we are seeing is the need to be flexible, to respond to change, and respond quickly. For example, a customer may want a PAM system that provides certain functions previously only offered by a MAM system, such as workflow automation, archive management or transcoding capabilities. They are not distinguishing between MAM or PAM anymore.

Media Creator A may want a system that gives them content management, production, web publishing and archiving capabilities, whereas Media Creator B is looking for a solution that allows them to quickly ingest, edit and add to their preferred social media platform.

This is why Grass Valley prefer to avoid aligning our solutions with conventional MAM/PAM categorisation. Instead, we try to listen to what current and prospective customers are asking for, and we add the tools and functionality to GV STRATUS as needed, whether it is editing, quick turnaround of live sports content or publishing media automatically to a VoD website or YouTube.

Broadcast Bridge: Is it desirable to implement a one size fits all MAM when such a system is probably not going to be ‘best of breed’ in all areas?

It is our view that software solutions simply cannot be all things to all people. A system that attempts to fulfill every single asset management and content production workflow can end up becoming far too complex, and difficult to administer and develop.

With all the changes that our industry is going through, it is important to stay agile, and offer a product that is easy to install, learn and maintain. That is our philosophy, and we have adopted a modular approach to creating software solutions that allows us to add functionality without adding complexity.

Equally, with the number of existing ‘best of breed’ solutions created for specific functions such as archiving, transcoding or newsroom production, it makes sense to remain open and offer a variety of third-party interfaces with strong technology partners, rather than attempt to achieve it all with one product. This also gives the end user more choice when it comes to putting together a content production solution to suit their preferred workflow.

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