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Ask the experts by Rino Petricola, Front Porch Digital M edia asset management: what exactly is it? MAM Media Asset Management While the precise defi nition varies from person to person, a common description tends to emerge. Media asset management (MAM) is a solution that allows media content — including audio, video, and graphics — to be ingested, annotated, cataloged, managed, protected, searched, manipulated, tracked, stored, and retrieved by users based on permissions. augmented by visual cues (keyframes) associated with proxies of the high- resolution content, allowing contextual as well as scene-based searches. MAM systems search across annotated segments of the content, often leveraging closed captioning text and perhaps even supplemented by voice recognition metadata, transcripts, etc. These features combine to provide a powerful search mechanism across asset, technical, and contextual metadata. What are the major benefits that a user can expect from a MAM system? Can a MAM system add revenue streams to a user’s portfolio? The ability to access, browse, and query fi le-based archives easily via a simple, unifi ed desktop interface enhances the overall creative process by minimizing the complexities of underlying formats and high-resolution fi le storage locations. It also provides a multitude of ways to search and locate content easily. Most MAM systems allow users to create shot lists directly from the desktop, and some facilitate simple, frame-accurate cut editing by leveraging the functionality of the backend content storage management (CSM) or archive solution. With this “desktop” access, creative staff can better manage, easily repurpose, and truly drive the nonlinear creation process. Yes, it’s possible. Leveraging MAM and a digital asset repository (a CSM system) means users can focus on the creative process rather than technical challenges, format compatibility, migration, etc. This more intense focus on creativity can allow new avenues for revenue generation to evolve more quickly. Further, by enabling the “testing” of these new revenue opportunities without having to make a large investment in infrastructure or staff, MAM systems can make the organization more agile and better able to start and stop these initiatives based on results. A MAM system not only gives users access to their rich content repositories, but also the ability to search those repositories in an intuitive environment, so that they can focus on the creative process rather than the availability of videotape machines, edit bays, etc. Most MAM systems permit advanced metadata searches often 42 | TV-BAY MAGAZINE: ISSUE 85 JANUARY 2014 What is required to ensure that a MAM system brings real value to the organization? Metadata accuracy through the entire content lifecycle is key to any enterprise MAM system. Enrichment of technical metadata during capture, migration, and ingest should be married with program and contextual metadata as it fl ows through the production, transmission, and online chains. Each consumption mechanism will have its own specifi c requirements. It is also imperative that the MAM be able to map, translate, extract, and publish metadata from the growing repository over time in order to feed these consumption and monetization paths accurately. Isn’t the cost of deploying a MAM solution prohibitive? Is there an affordable way to get the benefits? It is true that implementing a new MAM solution involves far more than just buying a technology; it requires leadership, governance, technical integration, cultural change, and user adoption to make it work. Over the past decade, many customers have implemented media asset management workgroups and systems across the media lifecycle, from ingest and production to transmission, and most of the time these implementations represented huge investments. However, with the maturity of cloud services today, customers can avoid those upfront investments. By simply moving their content into the cloud, they can easily and immediately realize these key benefi ts of an in-house MAM system: • Improved utilization of production infrastructure • Collaboration across departments • Content visibility and optimization • Automation of manual processes • Consistent metadata capture and protection throughout the media lifecycle • Improved discovery and utilization of archived assets