An IBC panel of experts says that the meaning of media asset management is increasingly becoming so nebulous that it is in danger of meaning nothing at all to anyone. But that doesn’t mean it’s going away. Among their thoughts: Implementing software as micro-services is particularly important because doing so allows MAM users to take advantage of the economies of scale of numerous cloud servers.
At first glance, the IBC 2015 session Sept. 13 entitled “MAM is Dead, Let’s Talk Supply Chain,” brings to mind the frequently misquoted reply of Mark Twain to an inquiry from editors from the New York Journal about a rumor of his demise: “The report of my death was an exaggeration.”
But upon further review, the most fitting famous quote summarizing the session on media asset management may have come from former President Bill Clinton: “It depends on what the meaning of the word ‘is’ is.”
The clever declaration about the demise of an entire product category, which drew a sizable number of attendees to an RAI Convention Center auditorium, probably was news to all the IBC 2015 vendors who sell MAMs and broadcasters who use them.
But just like the former U.S. president knew about the importance of words and their meanings, the television industry recognizes that the meaning of the term MAM is increasingly becoming so nebulous that it is in danger of meaning nothing at all to anyone.
Ten to 15 years ago, MAM, or DAM — digital asset management — meant a system to maintain control and access digital media assets, said session leader Jon Folland, CEO of Nativ, a U.K. cloud-based MAM provider.
But today — in large part due to vendors of these systems approaching their designs from different slices of the media and entertainment industry — so many capabilities outside the core functions have been glommed onto the term “MAM” that its meaning is evaporating.
As Folland and a session attendee asking a question put it, MAMs have “become all things to all people,” which really means “nothing to anyone,” he explained.
“If MAM is dead, what is making it so hard to define and implement and, in some cases, not being successful [in deployment]?” he asked.
“I think consumer technology is killing MAM,” said Folland. Mobile and OTT technology with their associated rapid rate of change are making it harder for monolithic MAMs that are on-premise and “siloed” to keep pace.
Folland suggested that new technology and new approaches to media can “rescue” media asset management from its death.
It’s time to look at things differently, he said. Drawing on established principles used in many other industries, Folland said the media business should consider implementing its version of supply chain theory.
Five key technologies can help make a move to supply chain theory successful:
- Infrastructure as a service
- New user interfaces taking advantage of technologies like HTML5
- Consumerization of IT
- Mobile tech like iPads that allow people to interact with the system from wherever they are
- Software as micro-services.
Implementing software as micro-services is particularly important because doing so allows MAM users to take advantage of the economies of scale of numerous cloud servers, Folland explained.
“Cloud is the opposite of what MAM has been,” he said. It stands in opposition to monolithic systems in which all functions are always present whether they are needed or not.
Deploying a MAM as a series of micro-services in the cloud “is about taking these big software platforms and breaking [them] out into individual services” and then mixing and matching the services as needed, Folland continued.
Several barriers are impeding a move of MAMs to the cloud, including the cost of processing and storage in the cloud.
Following Folland’s presentation, a panel of MAM experts on stage were invited to respond.
Matt Eaton, director digital media, Cognizant, said the media industry can learn from other industries, which see their supply chain as a competitive advantage. “If I can get product to customers quicker, it is a competitive advantage,” he said.
Content rights are increasingly becoming a concern as OTT reshapes distribution, said Josh Wiggins, SVP of sales and business development at Deluxe. Rights should be part of the MAM discussion and it is “time for rights vendors to step up,” he said.
Chris Wright, U.K. general manager of Dalet, cautioned that breaking MAM down into micro-services may be difficult and could introduce new risks.
Ariel Nishri, head of product at RR Media, reminded the audience that — although it might feel like it at times — media isn’t created in a factory and that supply chain management may be hard to implement in the media and entertainment business. “People in this industry are semi-artists,” he said.
David Hornsby, CDM product owner and content delivery platform manager at U.K. broadcaster ITV, said his organization’s MAM deployment is in the organization’s private cloud and that the broadcaster has deployed a micro-services-based engine.
The panelists agreed that like Mark Twain, MAM, in fact, is not dead, but that the term at this point may be meaningless. With the prospect of deploying MAM micro-services in the cloud, which means constant morphing of the media asset management system to meet the needs at hand, it may never again have a single meaning.
To see all of TVNewsCheck’s IBC 2015 coverage, click here.