Johan Bergström, Head of Sales and Marketing, Codemill
As the media industry continues to navigate new consumer trends and monetise increasing volumes of content, there is a growing desire for platforms that provide complete asset management and operational efficiency. As organisations weigh up their options in moving towards a cloud-based future, MAM solutions need to evolve to meet the demand for more remote and hybrid workflows.
A combination of MAM, content processing tools, and supply chain systems, should work together to streamline complex media workflows. By embracing an integrated approach, entertainment providers can successfully manage content at scale.
The MAM Legacy
In traditional on-prem media workflows, MAM systems lack agility, and they often face over-provisioning. Legacy MAM design centres on providing extra capacity for editing and content processing, but this is constrained by the parameters of physical storage. This approach contradicts the flexible usage model embedded in the cloud, where resources are available dynamically and on-demand.
Traditional MAMs also encounter various challenges such as inadequate data lifecycle management, insufficient version control, and fragmented storage. When managing a large number of assets, these problems can escalate quickly. If you’re not keeping on top of lifecycle management, it can lead to old, unarchived content, affecting storage requirements or complicating asset search and retrieval. Incorrect versioning during editing and localisation processes results in file duplication, further exacerbating the search problem.
In large media organisations, content can easily become siloed across different departments. When assets are siloed, the biggest challenge is duplication of effort. Separate teams could end up working on exactly the same content and waste valuable resources doing it. This waste is then transferred to the MAM in a rinse-and-repeat cycle. If this process is multiplied across thousands of assets, over several years, then storage capacity is going to become strained.
A Hybrid Approach
Traditional MAMs are typically inflexible because the asset hierarchy and organisational structure is not easily modified. Workflows become rigidly defined and this has inherent challenges. When processes don’t fit requirements, teams can start to look for creative workarounds. Outdated systems cause frustration for users and open up content archives to security risks. Inflexibility can hinder any efforts to improve redundant content processing methods and put the brakes on productivity. Integrating new tools or implementing changes becomes increasingly challenging due to workflows that are set in stone.
While this rigidity was less problematic in previous decades, the ability to work flexibly and innovatively is now essential for modern media processing. But for many large media companies, a fully cloud-based approach is not an option. The storage costs for nearline access requirements and the unpredictable egress fees make it an unrealistic strategy. So with media teams working remotely all over the world, how can entertainment providers find more flexible ways to collaborate on content?
Managing Pain Points
Entertainment providers and broadcasters have extensive content archives consisting of valuable assets. The combination of diverse infrastructure requirements and intricate workflows, mean there are a lot of variables to contend with. Organisations need highly customisable and configurable workflows to increase content processing efficiency. While operators and editors expect a streamlined process to search, filter, and work with media content.
A MAM system should optimise asset search through appropriate metadata, but it should also enhance workflow automation and seamlessly integrate with post-production tools. Entertainment providers and broadcasters require a comprehensive set of solutions capable of handling content at scale. The specific combination of solutions will vary based on individual company requirements and downstream actions. Regardless of the specific needs, media teams should have the ability to seamlessly integrate their preferred tools and infrastructure, either through custom development or REST APIs. Fortunately, a hybrid-cloud system allows organisations to achieve this.
To ensure that the entire chain is working effectively, all stages from ingest, to media and metadata management, right through to content distribution should be joined together. Media companies need more effective ways to connect islands of content and integrate essential media processing tools. To achieve this, a system must be able to utilise metadata to its full potential. Metadata should be stored within the system backend and enrich the description of assets to facilitate more accurate search functionality.
As no two workflows are the same, systems must be adaptable and offer extensive customisation options. If users have the option to build collections rather than treat assets like separate islands, then new functionality is possible. Admins can assign access to users and groups, defining the view, edit, and export rights for them at a granular or macro level. Flexible systems mean they can individually update, or batch edit metadata within a collection. Advanced archiving rules allow assets to be automatically offloaded from different storage tiers and managed in one central location. The end result, is that users can breathe a collective sigh of relief.
The Next Wave
The industry’s approach to technology solutions is converging from single lanes of traffic to a consolidated approach. Vendors now recognize that they can achieve more by collaborating and integrating their offerings. Rather than releasing single, end-to-end solutions that lock media companies into a restrictive framework, it’s clear we need flexible workflows to face the future of media consumption.
With no two workflows the same, it is more important than ever that adaptable solutions exist to give entertainment providers the control they need. Solutions are becoming less of an “either or” choice and more of a “yes and” adaptable solution. A non-proprietary approach with comprehensive APIs links a wide range of possibilities into the existing infrastructure. It’s time for media companies to expand their horizons on what a modern MAM can offer.