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Media Asset Management (MAM)

Simplify storage, organization & retrieval of your media files with Vidispine

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Peter BC
What is an excellent MAM and why?
What are API's?
Why Vidispine?
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Video has become a hugely dominant form of content, with more companies than ever applying video as part of their marketing, training and business strategies. Among these companies we do not only see traditional broadcasters extending their business model into internet distributed film and tv, but also a more generic usage of video in internal and external daily communication by many different companies and organizations in all sectors.

The value of the media files themselves are closely related to what we know about these media files – the data about the data – more commonly referred to as metadata. The more we know about our media files the more valuable they are. The most simplistic form of managing files in the early days was to create folders and subfolders, name these folders and name the media files using naming conventions that maybe only a very small number of people could navigate by.

Simplify managment and storage of digital assets | Media Asset Management | Vidispine

When the number of files started to grow and the number of workflows for these files extended from storage, production all the way out to distribution, it became evident that we needed a system that could efficiently and automatically guide us through 10:th of thousands of files and take actions based on the metadata of these files. Examples of actions could be:

  • finding a set of files based on metadata criteria’s
  • update a set of files based on metadata
  • assemble and deliver files based on metadata

The MAM (media asset management) system architecture is a result of these new workflow requirements. The MAM (media asset management) systems know everything about your files, not only the asset name and location, but also technical metadata such as codecs, formats, frame rates. And it does not stop there – some MAM systems can today give you information on the actual visual and audible content inside the video, recognize faces, speech for subtitling and much more.

What is Media Asset Management?

Media asset management (MAM) refers to both the process and software used to manage video and multimedia files. A MAM system is used to accommodate the need to manage large and rich media files and has become an essential part of the video production process as it allows companies to store and manage large media libraries from one centralized, reliable source.

Why is MAM necessary?

When the number of files started to grow and the number of workflows for these files extended from storage, production all the way out to distribution, it became evident that we needed a system that could efficiently and automatically guide us through 10:th of thousands of files and take actions based on the metadata of these files. Examples of actions could be:

  • finding a set of files based on metadata criteria’s
  • update a set of files based on metadata
  • assemble and deliver files based on metadata

The MAM (media asset management) system architecture is a result of these new workflow requirements. The MAM (media asset management) systems know everything about your files, not only the asset name and location, but also technical metadata such as codecs, formats, frame rates. And it does not stop there – some MAM systems can today give you information on the actual visual and audible content inside the video, recognize faces, speech for subtitling and much more.

Now, what is an excellent Media Asset Management (MAM) System and why?

An excellent and successful MAM system is a system that fits your company needs today while being able to expand and extend functionality and capacity when your business grows tomorrow.

Let’s break this down in some facts and definitions of important MAM capabilities:

  • The Media Asset Management system is the entry point of media files and metadata into your company. At this first point in your workflow, the MAM system will be able to manage, convert and report all aspects of your media including files, formats and the metadata itself. The Digital Media Asset Management system is the responsible organizer of your media files in your organization.

  • The Media Asset Management system architecture should preferably be designed for deployment on the Cloud (Cloud-native), as a local on-premise service or as Hybrid Cloud depending on your company requirements.

  • The Media Asset Management system should be based on an open architecture using standard APIs for communication with third-party tools and existing systems.

  • Customizable data models can be a divider between existing Media Asset Management software on the market – but at the same time an essential functionality for adapting the Media Asset Management software´s metadata model to your company current and future audiovisual workflows.

  • …or preferably elastic scalability, where the Media Asset Management system performance capabilities are synchronized with your company’s day to day workloads, is many times a very attractive and efficient solution for any size of company.

  • A Media Asset Management software should be designed for multiplatform accessibility and can be adapted for multisite requirements and with the associated user access control.

  • Of course, your Media Asset Management system must include the necessary redundancy in place in order to protect your data.

Designing and integrating a cloud-based MAM system

Learn how Vidispine's MAM solution was used to build a complete Media Supply Chain in only three weeks for German live-broadcast provider AKK. 

DAM vs MAM: What's the difference?

If you have asked yourself what the difference between a DAM vs. MAM system is, you are certainly not alone. The fundamental goal initially was to use a software system to manage all stored digital assets such as images, texts, licensing data and other sales and marketing-related material, and thus, digital asset management and media asset management software came to be. The very definitions of “manage” here are to store these assets, keep track of versions, make searching easy, enable collaboration, update webpages, ensure brand integrity and similar.

A software solution as described above is commonly referred to as a Digital Asset Management system (DAM) and, as such, becomes the centerpiece in any marketing and sales-related environment of the media supply chain.

With the introduction of rich media assets in media supply chains such as digitized video- and audio files, a similar system was required on the production side of the media supply chain. The media files in a production environment need to be ingested and stored, relationship between media versions needs to be maintained, logging and storing media files and metadata to enable fast search of scenes and clips in the editing environment. Also, transcoding media and metadata transformation and final delivery and packaging of master files are other examples of this type of media management.

MAM systems also generally have some very specific functionalities and feature sets that are not expected from a DAM system. One such key functionality is being able to work and manage placeholders for assets that have not arrived yet or are “offline “.  Another unique MAM system feature is the support for incoming growing media files. A MAM system of course also needs to be prepared to integrate with existing scheduling in broadcast environments

The difference between a DAM vs. MAM system is found in the actual appliance, the functionalities required and what part of the media supply chain we need to manage.

A MAM or a DAM: What is best for you?

Once we have agreed on the difference between a DAM vs. MAM system, you need to ask yourself what types of workflows and business processes you need to improve? If your business process is post-production, you need to make sure that the solution you choose has the media asset management tools required for a post-production environment. If your “must-have” list looks something like below then you most likely need a MAM system

  • Manual and automatic logging of media
  • Cloud editing of proxy files
  • Transcoding and preparation of media for editing and delivery
  • Collaborative editing
  • Review and approval of master versions
  • Subtitling

But if your asset management requirements expand into the sales and marketing environments, a DAM system is most likely what you are looking for. Your “ must-have “ list might look like something like this.

  • Media publishing and delivery
  • Web Content Management
  • Customer relationship management (CRM)
  • Financial and business admin (ERP)
  • Program planning and scheduling
  • Project management and cross-team collaboration

So, at the end of the day, it is all about streamlining and optimizing your business processes and your media supply chain with the most efficient and appliable tools. 

Many DAM systems today are also evolving by adding tools normally only found in traditional MAM systems. And MAM systems are adding DAM features in the same way.  No matter the solution for you, it is important that your system of choice can be integrated with either a DAM or a MAM system already present if necessary. The solutions provided by Vidispine offer essential media management components such as VidiCore, Vidicoder and Vidistream to design your own unique solution – and applications ready to integrate such as VidiEditor, MediaPortal and VidiFlow. 

What are API's and how can they be used to build a media asset management system?

API doc

So, let us dig into some technical details.

A graphical user interface (GUI) is a communication layer between a human and a computer. We humans use our hands and eyes to interact with the computer. A computer communicating with another computer needs to use another type of language called API – short for Application Programming Interface. This language allows computers to interact with each other using the following methods:

  • READ – yes, read information from target system
  • WRITE – write information to target system
  • PUT – update existing information on target system
  • DELETE – deleting existing information on target system

There are different API languages, and the methods available in each product on the market can vary, (but most of the times, the APIs for each product only reflect the current User Interface available). Communication using API between different systems allows for high volume automation driven by information stored in variables.


  • A request by a subscriber, through a VOD providers user interface, to find a similar feature film like the recently watched film will be served by the MAM Systems ability find those feature films based on extensive stored metadata through API calls.
  • A media file needs to be transcoded to the correct video format and packaged and delivered to the next point of distribution to be accessible to your customers – a process automatically executed based on the metadata models available at the core of your MAM System
  • Timecode based (cognitive) metadata driving the media player functionality and client experience. Highlights in sport distribution workflows are one of many examples of workflows using timecode-based metadata

What’s the difference between VAM, DAM & MAM/MSC?

It’s easy to get lost in copious amounts of acronyms being thrown around within the industry. You are more than likely familiar with at least one or two but might just have heard about the others. Understanding the difference between these asset management systems and picking the right one can make or break your content creation efforts:

  • DAM - Digital asset management
    DAM is great for managing brand and image assets. It’s mainly focused on managing already finished digital assets. Its functionalities include uploading, searching and transforming for several different formats. At times, DAM is used as an umbrella term that other more specialized asset management solutions sit under.
  • MAM - Media asset management
    MAM was traditionally focused on archiving and storage of video assets, but, being pioneered by the broadcast media, it was expanded to serve other functions including distribution of media. With the increase of business producing multimedia content, Media asset management tools has grown to accommodate a much wider array of needs.
  • VAM - Video asset management
    VAM, or as it’s often referred to - VDAM (Video Digital Asset Management), is a subset of MAM. A MAM system includes additional advanced functions beyond the basic store and search functions to handle both pre- and post-production. For example editing, collaboration, sharing and version tracking. VAM usually integrates within a larger MAM or DAM system and enables direct uploading to distribution channels (such as YouTube or Vimeo). 

Asset management is the foundation of a media supply chain, just as the media supply chain is the foundation of a business. Take control over your asset management with the Vidispine solutions and learn how we can maximize your media potential. 

Why build your MAM with Vidispine for increased efficiency, flexibility & cost savings?

So, deciding on the most efficient MAM System for your company requires a quite thorough investigation and definition of your company’s current workflow requirements and challenges. This includes not only the requirements you are aware of – but also the requirements that might appear in the future, the changes to come, the new customers and business models to explore.

Because of this, it is not uncommon that many companies and organizations consider building their own MAM Systems, which of course requires quite a lot of knowledge, resources and time. Here is where the VidiCore API can make a significant difference. Unlike most systems in the market, VidiCore API can be defined as a developer platform and Media Asset Management system at the same time.

At Vidispine, we refer to the Media Supply Chain as the definition of the next generation MAM System. To meet this definition, VidiCore API is offered both as an on-premise system and as a cloud-native service through VidiNet, our cloud-based media service platform.

Vidispine API icon

And it doesn’t stop here. VidiCore API is at its core a fully customizable framework designed to address any MAM system functionality required in a Media Supply Chain. The custom metadata model architecture enables any level of data-driven workflow capacity, including integration to 3rd: party quality and delivery partners such as Bitmovin, AWS and Microsoft, to mention a few.

We position VidiNet as “Your own customizable Media Supply Chain as a Service”. As a VidiNet user, you will have access to your marketplace with new cloud-native apps, services and systems by Vidispine and 3rd parties where you add your services as your organization grows.

The VidiNet Digital Media Asset Management architecture also offers full cost transparency and start/stop services to manage your associated costs for the different workflows. Specifically, VidiNet allows you as a customer to start a fully managed VidiCore API to use as a backbone for essence and metadata management. Through VidiNet, the customer also gets native access to highly scalable media services with no upfront costs to quickly add new functionality to a new or existing system.

It is, however, necessary also to acknowledge all of our customers that require their audio-visual assets to be stored locally. Because of this, VidiNet environment offers seamless integration to any local storage using our VidiCore Server Agent (VSA), a Vidispine application that allows for media files uploads from any local storage thus enabling a hybrid cloud system.

We can also help you with Enterprise Digital Asset Management (DAM) and Production Asset Management (PAM) software.

Get Started Today!

Let us help you get started with your next-gen MAM in VidiNet. Contact us to get a free demo from our media experts, or let us help you create a customized trial based on your needs.

Download Whitepaper: The advantages of the Hybrid MAM approach
Whitepaper - The advantages of the Hybrid MAM approach

How can you make sure that a MAM solution is the perfect fit for your organization? In this whitepaper, we will give you more insights into this by looking at the different MAM approaches and the advantages of each approach.

Q&A's for MAM

  • Any company with large quantities of media content; this includes everything from news, streaming, and television companies, to large corporations. As the number of files grows, and the workflows for them extend beyond storage into production and distribution, a MAM system often becomes a requirement to be able to store, find, process, and deliver media content effectively.

  • Metadata is often referred to as "the data behind other data", it's used to help identify the characteristics of a file to make it easier to find, use, and manage. For example, metadata for a video file includes the creator's name, date created, location shot, upload date, camera information, among many other both visible and hidden metadata.

Contact us

If you have any questions or want to get in touch with us, do not hesitate to reach out! 

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Your Contacts for our next generation MAM System

Kurt Krinke
Expert for Broadcast Solutions - North America
Michael Schneider
Expert for Broadcast Solutions - Europe
Peter BC
Peter Booth-Clibborn
Sales Manager - UK & Rest of the World
Dirk Steinmeyer
Expert for Broadcast Solutions - Europe & MEA