In Broadcast - July 2017 - 62
www.inbroadcast.com | Vol: 7 - Issue 6
The Ultimate MAM System Goal
Contributing Editor Adrian Pennington asks key vendors: "What is the best way of
approaching Media Asset Management hosted in a cloud environment to gain the
benefits of elastic business rules and elastic costs?
f it weren't for Media Asset
Management (MAM) organisations
would be left with large files in storage
(or even worse, tapes in a cabinet).
To the extent that the core principles
of ensuring that media is properly
catalogued, easy to search, browse and
retrieve, MAM systems have fulfilled its
promises to the market. However, MAM
functionality is fairly generic in the
marketplace today, because the need is
so universal and the number of vendors
providing some level of catalogue is
"The issue isn't so much whether
MAM has delivered on its promises,
but whether or not specific vendor
promises of what a MAM is actually
capable of, beyond the catalogue,
were fulfilled," says Dalet's Director
of Product Strategy, Kevin Savina.
"There are numerous examples of
vendors that have over-promised MAM
capabilities for the ability to integrate
with external metadata sources,
control third-party systems or handle
specific media formats."
Erik Åhlin, Co-Founder of Vidispine
contends: "MAM systems to date have
been crucial in transforming content
libraries into fully digitised assets. It
is easier to find and repurpose content
in multiple channels with a MAM,
production and re-versioning costs
are reduced, and it is possible to track
workflows and rights, and achieve
greater insight into staff efficiency.
"However, auto-indexing of large
libraries is still a few years away to
be considered 'good enough' and I
don't think the monetisation of assets
is growing exponentially - although
incremental cost savings from MAM
are easy to find."
According to Åhlin the industry has
entered a phase of significant cost
reductions in MAM deployments. Most
technologies are mature, he points
out, deployment projects are reckoned
"It is easier to find and
repurpose content in
with a MAM"
Erik Åhlin, Vidispine
in months instead of years even for
larger implementations and projects
are much more focused on instant
value to the business.
"Flexibility of scale has often been
the main challenge in scoping and
cost-effectively deploying satisfactory
MAM solutions," says Russell Grute,
Innovation. "It's a constant source
of dissatisfaction for customers
and vendors in timely cost-effective
deployment and in achieving an
ROI from MAM. Successful media
businesses grow, unpredictably."
On the face of it cloud hosting to
deploy and scale MAM offers a lot. A
shallower investment ramp and easier
deployment with investment declining
as the volume of media increases.
"Right now, cloud-based solutions
promise everything to everyone, like
many MAM solutions," advises Grute.
"As many have learned, to achieve that
promise, a careful transition to how
those solutions will be used is crucial."
Broadcasters like ITV are moving
away from in-house monolithic
investment to multi-tenanted shared
shared private or public cloud is also
emerging within partnered media
groups, some more forward thinking
media services providers, and MAM
solutions developers themselves. It's
certainly moving away from specific
MAM vendor solution capability and
more toward what we can broadly
label as value added cross media
"A key point of divergence could
be discrete frame-based workflows
versus the possibilities of streaming
and stream splicing," suggests Grute.
"Many MAM deployments to date
have been over complicated because
of the need to incorporate legacy
and especially, frame-based linear
playout. Newer solutions for OTT and
VOD can in many cases dispense with
this complexity. It's already happened
in subscription VOD workflow and
Digital Ad Insertion (DAI), where DAI is
Avid Interplay Broadcast MAM
More fundamentally at a strategic
level, Grute predicts that legacy
media planning systems, which used
to be called scheduling, traffic or BMS
[Broadcast Management Systems], will
also undergo a similar transformation
to media management.
"Optimal future MAM processes will
be much more closely coupled with the
next generation of multi-outlet media
planning systems," he says. "The
next generation of BMS may displace
discrete MAM and playout solutions
altogether in some cases."
The Cloud implies multiple things at
once: virtualised machine instances;
machines and storage that are not
in the local data centre; business
rules to create and deploy machine
instances and storage when required
(i.e. elasticity) and billing models
that align with operations, based on
subscriptions or 'pay for what you use'.
In some cases, media organisations
want transformation and distribution
to run as close to the edge as possible,
to lower their costs of distribution.
In other cases, entire pre-production
workflows operate in the cloud in
order to provide elastic costs to match
job order billing.
Cloud changes things in the sense
that it adds a whole new level of
flexibility to MAM deployments. Things
that used to be fixed and constrained
can now be used as needed. This
includes IT infrastructure (compute or
storage), with new pricing models and
new Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS,)
Production as a Service (PaaS) and
Software as a Service (SaaS) models.
"It is this which is the real game-
"Flexibility of scale has often
been the main challenge in
scoping and cost-effectively
Russell Grute, Broadcast Innovation
changer since it has real operational
and business impacts," says Savina.
"The core of MAM products is not
impacted by such change. Assets will
continue to be referenced in a system
and tools will still be required to
process the content. What is impacted
is the ecosystem around the MAM,
which can now become much more
dynamic. A MAM should be able to
leverage cloud services so that users
can benefit from the cloud through
the MAM. Orchestration will be a
key component, giving the ability to
provision, control and monitor the
various services available."
Scale On Demand
There are a number of dimensions
where the cloud provides some unique
capabilities to a MAM project, says
Craig Dwyer, Senior Director Global
Presales for Avid.
"The cloud can be used to help
the environment scale on demand,"
he says. "A good example would be
when content is quickly needed to be
transcoded or processed. If the assets
are available in the cloud, processing
jobs can be initiated on demand and
scaled up, and then down again as