MAM and the connected consumer

Thursday, March 21, 2013

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“We’re seeing media asset management developments in a number of areas; greater interoperability and process standardisation, helping to build and adapt complex environments and FIMS (Framework for Interoperable Media Service) is a good cross-industry example.”
Viewers want different experiences on each platform, different flavours of content, and they want it all on their personal schedules! Craig Dwyer, senior director, global centre of excellence at Avid believes media enterprises need to radically re-think how they set up and integrate their workflows and business processes to meet the needs of connected consumer.

Viewers no longer solely want a passive experience with a TV programme in their front room. They want to watch catch-up TV on a laptop, download a phone app on the move, engage with content on a tablet, or talk about their experiences on social media sites.

An ‘access anywhere, any time and on any platform’ consumer is having a profound impact on Media Asset Management (MAM) systems. In many cases, the new platform opportunities don’t come with a revenue stream to support them at the start, but ensuring your content and brand remain front and centre with audiences is paramount in the current marketplace. Leveraging a MAM approach can allow you to quickly and efficiently automate the content transformation and packaging required to support them.

Quite simply, MAM is the lifeblood of the broadcast industry. It’s a concept and solution that enables media organisations to store, manage, access and monetise their digital assets efficiently. If designed and installed effectively, it can provide the media enterprise with significant productivity and return on investment (ROI) opportunities to help them stand out in today’s competitive media landscape.

Changing priorities

It’s key to point out that the benefit of a MAM solution is more about the overarching concept than one particular function. It’s about being able to have the capability to create, manipulate, access, retrieve, distribute and monetise content in an integrated, end-to-end solution – this is the Holy Grail for all media organisations.

Over time, priorities for media enterprises have shifted. Until recently, the overriding reason for investing in a MAM system was about ingesting and managing media and providing desktop level access through browse proxies. Today these features are perceived as givens and the highest priorities are now workflow, business process management and cross-system integration.

The most popular function of Avid Interplay MAM that our customers favour is its ability to automate and synchronise the tagging of metadata. The ability to accurately record metadata has become a priority for media organisations over the past few years as the need to automate and leverage assets quickly and efficiently increases. Coupled with the Interplay Production and Avid Media Composer integration, the ability to very quickly find and bring assets back into production is invaluable.

Developing Media Asset Management competencies

As clients gain experience implementing and operating their MAM systems, they begin to identify a number of new areas where they can improve workflows or integrate new systems. Leading MAM systems provide the flexibility in the architecture and open interfaces to expand and evolve the capabilities as the organisation gains the competencies and confidence to grow.

Our most mature customers have built the skills in house to architect, design, implement, operate and optimise their MAM systems as they continue to increase the automation and adoption of their file based workflows.

Across the industry we continue to focus on leveraging open standards such as Business Process Markup Language (BPML). This has multiple benefits, such as being able to represent business process to both technical to operational stakeholders to gain alignment, using a range of standard modelling tools, to allowing clients to recruit talent from the wider IT industry and leverage skills and competencies from other highly optimised industries.

Recognising the opportunity presented by a modern, integrated media enterprise is as much to do with having the right human capital as it does with implementing the very latest technologies.

Finding a ROI

The million dollar question that media enterprises need to ask is how they can achieve ROI on a MAM system. We advise customers that they can calculate the return on investment by looking at the existing processes they have in place and the underlying costs. As important as the technology investment is, the change in working practices, the cultural shift and the training and support associated with it are also important areas for media enterprises to consider.

We have a team in place, Avid Professional Services, which helps media enterprises make the technological change, but as equally important, they assist them with the cultural change that comes with implementing and working with a file-based workflow. The team help our customers to understand the benefits of implementing a new workflow, or how to use their existing workflow more efficiently. From this review, we build a plan that helps them introduce, manage and capture the benefits of installing a system such as Interplay MAM. Our professional services team is experienced at providing detailed ROI calculations and business cases to support customers working through the complexities of introducing or updating media asset management systems.

Common revenue streams that the introduction a MAM system can enable include reusing stock footage for sale by having a clear, searchable record of assets; enabling content owners to re-use and manipulate programmes for new channels, and making it very efficient to transform and repurpose assets for new programs or for multiple platforms.

Taking it to the ‘cloud’ and multi-platform distribution

We’re seeing cloud technologies making their way into the MAM environment. At NAB 2012, Avid introduced Interplay Sphere, a solution that provides remote editors with a transparent way to work with local media and combine it with managed assets in the facility. Behind the scenes we are creating media proxies on the fly, both at the facility and in the local editing system, automating the movement and combining the final elements. We expect to see more of this type of ‘hybrid cloud’ where high resolution and proxy media are combined fluidly to create significant flexibility and enable new workflows.

We have many customers with very sophisticated multi-platform operations. One trend we’re seeing is that customers are starting to re-think their entire media lifecycle based on this new demand. They are moving away from channel-based systems and placing more emphasis on an asset-based workflow approach. This approach ensures that the assets are placed in a managed environment as early in the process as possible, and can be tracked, re-used and enriched throughout the entire lifecycle. It is also important to consider the social media and user-generated aspects of modern broadcast. Media is not just valuable once it’s in a completed programme, as quite often throughout the production process elements are needed for marketing and promotion. Audience and fan-generated media are also areas that need management and integration into the editorial process.

It’s important when considering implementing a MAM system that the enterprise asks how flexible the systems they are deploying are; whether it has modular services-oriented architecture, rich process orchestration capabilities, open integration and an adaptable data model. These are all very important. Also, due to the rapid changes in the media distribution environment, knowing the system has the flexibility to evolve quickly and efficiently, with minimal downtime, is critical.

The future of Media Asset Management

We’re seeing media asset management developments in a number of areas; greater interoperability and process standardisation, helping to build and adapt complex environments and FIMS (Framework for Interoperable Media Service) is a good cross-industry example.

Improvements in search performance and the introduction of semantic search capabilities will make it even easier and faster to find and re-use assets. Cloud enablement will make assets transparently accessible over distributed locations, such as primary production sites and remote offices, or temporary locations such as large sports events.

Ultimately, what media enterprises are realising is that consumers will continue to drive the demand for content and dictate their interaction with it. And to keep up with this, content owners are setting up their infrastructure to compete in today’s multi-platform world.  

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