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What is a MAM System?

Rasmus Bergander (1)
YOUR CONTACT

MAM or Media Asset Management, normally refers to a software-based system for managing, organizing, acquiring, ingesting and delivering media files. The more you know about your media, it’s “genealogy” and how it is consumed, the more intelligent and efficient your MAM can be.


At a very basic level, we can create a MAM simply using Windows Explorer or OSX finder by organizing media in logical folder structures and using file and folder naming patterns to present high level metadata. In this way you can search for files, get info on them move files between folders as and when states change. But of course, most of these features are manual and such a system does not really scale or allow multiple users to work on files simultaneously. 
 

Nevertheless, many production houses, for example, still struggle with this simple kind of media management, although their business model and media file requirements have far outgrown the Windows and OSX native file handling features of a desktop computer. 


With all this, the term Video MAM really, most of the time just refers to the definition of a MAM system.
 

So, let's take a look at some of the general descriptions of what a MAM system does. We mentioned some of the above.

  • Acquire and ingest
  • Organize
  • Manage
  • Deliver

The Processes of a MAM (Media Asset Management) Software

  • Acquire and ingest

    At some point, independently of what kind of media supply chain you are working in, media and metadata will arrive in some form. Some examples.
     

    • A production team will need to log incoming raw material from the daily shots.
    • A VOD delivery platform will acquire new titles by file transfer of video, audio, and associated metadata by an online delivery service – or only by SFTP. 
    • A live streaming service will need to store clips and metadata from the live broadcast feed.
       

    The process of acquiring and ingesting media can be challenging in many ways, but is arguably the most important step in the workflow chain. Technical or editorial faults or errors in metadata or the media itself either introduced or allowed to pass through at this stage will cause greater problems further down the chain.
     

    Your media supply chain needs to be able to decode and work with your media files to start with. This, most of the time requires a first technical analysis and potentially a QC check to determine what transformations need to be applied to the media files to meet the “house” standards. This may include transcoding, using a service like VidiCoder, to an in-house, or mezzanine format, or other media transformations. In some workflows, a low res “proxy” version of the media also needs to be produced to enable desktop or remote viewing and editing.
     

    The same applies to the metadata information that many times needs to be transformed to conform to in-house metadata schema.


    A production workflow will add metadata to incoming media in a logging process. Traditionally the logging process in an ingest environment has always been a largely manual task, using tools such as MediaIngest and MediaLogger, adding descriptive metadata to the media as a whole, but in many cases also identifying “temporal metadata” describing actions or objects that appear for a specific duration in the media.

    However, with machine learning, this is about to change dramatically. Today, a machine learning algorithm, such as the cognitive services available in the VidiNet, can detect objects, people and spoken language and make that available as searchable metadata. While not entirely replacing the manual process, such services can significantly reduce manual effort while signficantly extending the metadata set.


    Ingest workflows at the distribution end of the media supply chain have similar requirements, although the relevant metadata and media formatas will likely differ. Analyzing the media and making sure that media and metadata conforms is still a critical step, but with different criteria, such as regulatory compliance.  Automated analysis and cognitive services can again be applied here. Enabling new and essential processes like automatic trailer editing, subtitling, branding detection, scene detection for AD insertion, and much more. 


  • Organize

    With a successful ingest and acquisition of media, we now have in-depth knowledge of our files and the metadata information that they contain. With this information and knowledge of our media files, we can now organize our media files with accuracy and control for any part of the digital media supply chain.
     

    With continuously growing archives of media, like in the journalist and newspaper environments, it becomes very important to quickly be able to find relevant clips to present a video on breaking news and topics.
     

    With browser-based applications such as MediaPortal the user can quickly search large on-premise or cloud-based video archives simultaneously, preview media and add the necessary clips to a collection to drive the next workflow steps, such sending to another user or a desktop editor such as VidiEditor.

  • Manage

    To manage media is the core of what a MAM does, keeping track of where your media files and data are stored, what they contain, and how they relate to each other. The technology “under the hood” for managing your media is the VidiCore service that collects and conforms all metadata information into a database.
     

    Coupled with a workflow engine, such as VidiFlow, this information enables the user to build limitless automated workflows to speed up their own digital media supply chains.  Using VidiFlow, or by integrating via APIs, 3rd party services and tools, such as transcoders and editors, can also be connected to the MAM environment

  • Deliver

    Different media supply chains require different delivery methods, but almost all of them need to deliver files one stage or another, whether it’s a production house delivering a complete “master” file or a distribution center delivering to a CDN (Content Delivery Network). In many cases, it will be necessary to distributed media in multiple different versions or formats with differing media components and metadata requirements.
     

    The MAM should understand the relationship between these versions and be able to automate the assembly of the correct formats for the various endpoints.

Vidispine as part of the Content Ecosystem

A MAM system can provide significant efficiency gains on it’s own as a “standalone” system. However, connecting MAM to other areas of the content ecosystem can drive even greater ROI.
 

Other systems we might connect to could include:

  • NRCS (Newsroom Computer Systems) – such that journalists can access content in the MAM and new programming is available to the rest of the organization.
  • Rights management – such that users can see what usage rights are applicable to what media, or such that descriptive metadata for acquired rights can pass to the MAM and trigger an ingest process
  • Scheduling Systems – such that media can be automatically transferred to the delivery platform according to the schedule or such that metadata from the MAM can be used to automatically populate an EPG.
  • Ad sales – such that broadcasters or content distributors can offer context sensitive advertisement placements based on media content.
  • Ratings/Forecast systems – such that the ratings or forecasts for content can be viewed alongside the media in the MAM.

In fact, by connecting all these systems, we can start to build an accurate picture of the true value of each media asset and the actual ROI of the technology we implement.
 

At Vidispine, we have a broad portfolio that fully covers Media Asset Management, whether as a turnkey solution or “build it yourself” through APIs, as well as Rights Management and Scheduling – Avatega - and advertising technology in AdStore and AdOpt.  
 

Together with our partners we are able to present solutions for complete content ecosystem, with many of those 3rd party applications and services available on, or coming soon to the VidiNet media services platform as a service.
 

VidiNet allows for trial and stage environments, enabling those wider ecosystem connections to be easily tested and integrated, as well provide cost estimations before executing any process. All this in a completely scalable environment.
 

Scale up or scale down depending on business model and market requirements from day to day. This way you make sure you only pay for what you need and use at any given time.
 

This is media asset management.

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Your Contact for MAM Systems

Rasmus Bergander (1)
Rasmus Bergander
Contact Rasmus to get a demo, to create a customized trial, or if you have any questions.