Will DAM flood the media? For cost-effective ways to manage and leverage content assets, here's digital asset management. But is it the solution?When the National Geographic channel
Defining DAM can be a little confusing. There's an overabundance o·ver·a·bun·dance
A going or being beyond what is needed, desired, or appropriate; an excess: teenagers with an overabundance of energy. of acronyms that describe concepts that are close but reveal different approaches: DAM (digital asset management), CM (content management), MAM MAM
methylazoxymethanol. (media asset management) and DMM See multimeter.
DMM - Digital Multimeter (digital media management). DAM seems to have the greatest currency and essentially refers to a variety of solutions that offer companies ways to process, manage and leverage digital media.
"It's really about managing content and intellectual property," says Rona Levine, senior manager in Deloitte Consulting's Media & Entertainment practice. "It's about being able to find your assets."
Although DAM has been around for at least a decade, some new drivers have prompted more media companies to implement it. Some of these drivers are technical, such as DAM's ability to store rich-media files online at a low cost, and then transfer the files through high-speed connectivity. Other drivers involve market forces, including an interest in cross-purposing content to satisfy the needs of converging media companies.
In the case of National Geographic Television, it's a little of each. "We've gone through the process of taking material and creating a digital archive with streaming media See streaming audio, streaming video and digital media hub. proxies that can be accessed on the Web," says Matt White, vice president, film library for National Geographic Television. "It provides a way for our creative customers to research images and buy them for production of their own properties."
The film library is working with Convera, which also hosts the system, although that process is evolving into an in-house infrastructure. White explains that thanks to its DAM system, National Geographic Television is also expanding its holdings to include control of complementary archives of the National Film Board of Canada National Film Board of Canada (NFB)
Canadian department of film production. It was established in 1939 and directed by John Grierson (1898–1972), who developed the studio into a leading producer of documentaries, including the World War II propaganda films Canada , ABC ABC
in full American Broadcasting Co.
Major U.S. television network. It began when the expanding national radio network NBC split into the separate Red and Blue networks in 1928. Australia and ZEF ZEF Zero Emissions Forum
ZEF Zygote Embryo Fetus of Germany. This will provide a pool of library content that creators can go to without having to contact each group individually and strike a deal. Additionally, National Geographic Television has deals with Yahoo and AOL (A division of Time Warner, Inc., New York, NY, www.aol.com) The world's largest online information service with access to the Internet, e-mail, chat rooms and a variety of databases and services. to be part of premium services for which consumers pay a monthly fee to get special video content. And they've contracted with United Learning to provide digital images around which the curriculum is built for its 20,000 schools.
Not a bad return on investment for a technology that--until recently--got little attention.
The Vendor Landscape
Despite a plethora of DAM companies that have gone under since the late '90s, there is what some might consider an overabundance of vendors. Gistics, a market research company, identifies some 616 "DAM solution providers" and 1246 "knowledge asset management solution providers" in its latest report.
Some are pure players with name recognition: Artesia, North Plains Systems and eMotion. Others have bought their way into the space, such as Documentum, which purchased DAM vendor Bulldog bulldog, breed of thick-set nonsporting dog developed in the British Isles many centuries ago. It stands from 13 to 15 in. (33–38.1 cm) high at the shoulder and weighs from 40 to 50 lb (18.1–22.7 kg). for $11 million. Some, like Avid and Adobe, are more tools vendors than infrastructure vendors (think Artesia and North Plains again). Others, like Agari and Context Media, supply middleware Software that functions as a conversion or translation layer. It is also a consolidator and integrator. Custom-programmed middleware solutions have been developed for decades to enable one application to communicate with another that either runs on a different platform or comes from a that link DAM tools or databases. The bottom line? As Gistics' CEO (1) (Chief Executive Officer) The highest individual in command of an organization. Typically the president of the company, the CEO reports to the Chairman of the Board. Michael Moon Michael Moon is an American literary academic, formerly a professor in the English department at Johns Hopkins University, in Baltimore, United States. He currently works in interdisciplinary studies at Emory University. He previously taught at Duke University. emphasizes, "No one technology is the silver bullet silver bullet - magic bullet ." No one DAM vendor can do it all for media companies, although many are creating interesting partnerships to be as full-featured and enterprise friendly as possible.
One of the issues that the vendors have been working to overcome is the perception that some have tried to oversell o·ver·sell
tr.v. o·ver·sold , o·ver·sell·ing, o·ver·sells
1. To contract to sell more of (a stock or commodity) than can be delivered.
2. To be too eager or insistent in attempting to sell something to. their wares and have created chaos instead of streamlined workflow. "One of the top three challenges to positioning, selling and integrating a DAM system would be a host of graveyards of applications in the DAM landscape," says Michael Barros, vice president of business development for Artesia. "We have to overcome why the installations of previous systems didn't work."
Hassan Kotob, president and CEO of North Plains Systems, notes that clients are wary of the full-on enterprise pitch. "Many companies went right off the bat saying 'enterprise solution,' but with the architecture they had, they weren't able to fulfill the promise."
So, vendors are starting with a more practical, go-slow approach--practical also because, as a Forrester Research Forrester Research is an independent technology and market research company that provides its clients with advice about technology's impact on business and consumers. Corporate facts
That approach makes sense to companies like Gannett, which continues to evaluate DAM systems. "Today, Gannett has no unified approach to DAM or DRM (1) (Digital Radio Mondiale) A digital audio broadcasting (DAB) system for AM radio in Europe. See HD Radio.
(2) (Digital Rights M [digital rights management]. We have yet to see a clear return on investment for these systems," says Gary Gunnerson, the company's IT architect. "Each business unit chooses the best systems for creating their products and supporting their customers."
Kipp Wright, director of IT development at USATODAY.com, a Gannett division, echoes his colleague. "We have yet to see the ROI (Return On Investment) The monetary benefits derived from having spent money on developing or revising a system. In the IT world, there are more ways to compute ROI than Carter has liver pills (and for those of you who never heard of that expression, it means a lot). in investing in a large-scale system. Instead we are looking to leverage existing infrastructure and work to have it meet immediate needs."
Many media companies are taking the same approach because the technology still needs to mature. For now, you won't find the infrastructure to create broadcast-ready rich digital files, for instance. White is anticipating a time when his research database will be transformed into a working production database. "If we can provide to our customers a database they cannot only research, but can also access broadcast-quality tape, then everything changes for us," he says. Currently, customers use the database to identify what they want, and then National Geographic strikes masters on tape for them to use.
"However, there are components of the technology today to logically support the end goal, which is the monetization of assets and intellectual property," says Levine. "But it depends on what you need to do and how you define monetization of assets."
Start Local, Think Global
If DAM means different things to different people with different problems to solve, the first place to start is with the business issue to be solved. Initially, that's probably not how to create ROI through monetization.
"Yes, there are revenue opportunities, but the main driver now is better workflow and operational efficiencies," says Max Locke, senior manager of Deloitte & Touche's Media & Entertainment Solutions practice. "That means starting with a proof of concept to show the process is better and win people over."
Barros, too, recognizes that the best approach for media companies is to start small but with a global strategy in mind. "One thing is really important to this: You do need to have an enterprise strategy," says Barros. "When you bring other departments online, you want a vision of where things are going to go."
He points out that for companies for which content is their core business, and advertising and marketing are other significant functions, marketing is often the first to test DAM. "With a new technology, you're not going to put your most precious assets in this yet. You prove it in marketing." As an example, Barros cites HBO Hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBO)
A form of oxygen therapy in which the patient breathes oxygen in a pressurized chamber.
Mentioned in: Ozone Therapy , for whom Artesia has created a DAM solution for clips, promos, radio spots and billboards. "They're in the process now of moving this over to the production side of the house. That's the key piece of what we're doing. Every day, we're taking analog out of the process and highly automating it."
Starting small with marketing was Tom Roach's approach when he began implementing a DAM solution at 20th Century Fox, where he is vice president of International Home Entertainment and Theatrical Information Technology. About two years ago, the company began a corporate initiative called "Calypso Calypso, in Greek mythology
Calypso (kəlĭp`sō), nymph, daughter of Atlas, in Homer's Odyssey. She lived on the island of Ogygia and there entertained Odysseus for seven years. " that set out to re-evaluate various processes. Fox looked first at its marketing department, which typically has to send promotional materials to more than 60 countries when a film is released. It's not uncommon to have to burn trailers, press spots and publicity shots to 20 CDs that are then packaged and mailed to hundreds of people around the world. It costs a bundle and takes at least a couple of days to get to market. Both the cost and the time needed shaving, says Roach.
"We were looking for Looking for
In the context of general equities, this describing a buy interest in which a dealer is asked to offer stock, often involving a capital commitment. Antithesis of in touch with. an easy-to-use, powerful, fast solution that would be able to operate without any client for most of our consumers, such as ad agencies," he says. "All they'd need would be a browser to access the information."
Roach looked at a variety of vendors and went with Artesia because of its functionality and, not unimportantly, the fact that the vendor partnered with Getty Images, Fox's ASP. Six months into the new system, he says, the cost of duplications is gone, as is the shipping and the time to market. Fox pays a monthly fee to Getty Images, which pays a licensing fee to Artesia.
"It's working great," Roach says. "We're expanding into other divisions. The only variable for us is the hard disk space, which is relatively cheap, so we can add other business units with less value that don't have to demonstrate ROI."
Down the road, Fox will be exploring different areas where the company could use the system to monetize stock film footage--say, a helicopter flying over L.A. "Other companies could download the footage for a fee to use for their productions," Roach says.
According to according to
1. As stated or indicated by; on the authority of: according to historians.
2. In keeping with: according to instructions.
3. Michael Moon of Gistics, at the highest level, DAM represents one of three business strategies. The underlying premise, he explains, is that you deploy new technologies to execute a business strategy. The first strategy for media companies he calls "smart media strategy," in which you're trying to maximize revenues or profits from a base of branded assets. That might mean eventually automating workflow in the media creator space by enabling quick and easy access to referenceable files that allow a National Geographic production team, for example, to access content from its magazine to produce a documentary on the same topic.
The second strategy is "media services" and, like the Fox example, is typically owned by marketing and licensing services departments. If, Moon says, Disney has hundreds of authorized images of Mickey Mouse Mickey Mouse
Famous character of Walt Disney's animated cartoons. He was introduced in Steamboat Willie (1928), the first animated cartoon with sound. Mickey was created by Disney, who also provided his high-pitched voice, and was usually drawn by the studio's head animator, in various poses that could be used for different purposes, instead of having a high-, medium- and low-resolution file in half-a-dozen file formats for each image, a digital master is created that is capable of dynamic rendering and is placed in a secure image portal accessible to clients.
The third strategy is "content acceleration," says Moon. "Look at the number of websites under the AOL Time Warner umbrella; there are probably a couple of hundred. Content accelerators will gather up newly available assets as well as textual information, tag it with XML XML
in full Extensible Markup Language.
Markup language developed to be a simplified and more structural version of SGML. It incorporates features of HTML (e.g., hypertext linking), but is designed to overcome some of HTML's limitations. and push it into any of the appropriate websites. So, you have automated publishing and distribution of Web content, which reduces the cost of doing e-channel e-business."
But, Moon points out, these are all concepts that take DAM as a point solution. "It's about integrating what you have with two or three new things you'll need."
Facing Down the Future
If DAM is just now getting a toehold into media companies, what has to happen to create more of a driver for companies to deploy it?
It's important to understand what opportunities enabling its application will be created in media and entertainment, and those aren't there yet. That's the push side. The pull side is: what business developments are going to hasten has·ten
v. has·tened, has·ten·ing, has·tens
To move or act swiftly.
1. To cause to hurry.
2. the deployment of digital asset systems?
The megatrends in this arena are new distribution modalities Modalities
The factors and circumstances that cause a patient's symptoms to improve or worsen, including weather, time of day, effects of food, and similar factors. , globalization globalization
Process by which the experience of everyday life, marked by the diffusion of commodities and ideas, is becoming standardized around the world. Factors that have contributed to globalization include increasingly sophisticated communications and transportation and new business models. All will be enabled by the power of digital asset management and networks. The ability to protect licensing is one driver. Another driver, in the case of film companies, is the ease of reformatting from theatrical print to DVD DVD: see digital versatile disc.
in full digital video disc or digital versatile disc
Type of optical disc. The DVD represents the second generation of compact-disc (CD) technology. or change languages without redubbing. In the case of broadcast, it's the ability to let local affiliates cut a network-originated story to fit content.
But first, says Levine, industry standards for sharing assets need improvement--specifically in the area of tagging metadata. Barros, on the other hand, sees security as being the driving issue. "Our customers are pushing us to a more intense and granular granular /gran·u·lar/ (gran´u-lar) made up of or marked by presence of granules or grains.
1. Composed or appearing to be composed of granules or grains.
2. security model," he says. "You'll see in the next quarter or two a real change in our security model."
In film and post-production, Chris Albano, director of content technologies with Avid, says that the big challenge for his customers is moving large, high-resolution assets around. "They're still struggling with digital dailies. People are still sending out videotapes. The underlying infrastructure really needs to come up to speed to allow for the seamless distribution of assets."
Gunnerson of Gannett agrees. "As DAM expands to include higher resolution photos and video, we also need larger and larger amounts of digital storage," he says. "Today at Gannett, DAM and DRM require significant infrastructure investments in ancillary systems, increasing the implementation costs without clear monetary gains. When the business benefits become clearer, we will seriously reevaluate our investment position for DAM and DRM."
Ultimately, even with people looking ahead to new revenue streams that DAM The That Dam is a large stupa in Vientiane, Laos. Many Laotians believe it is inhabited by a seven headed dragon who tried to protect them from the armies of Siam, who invaded in 1827. It is also known as the Black Stupa, the English translation of the Lao name That Dam. could facilitate, it's the workflow that seems to be driving at least initial deployments of DAM. Media companies want a seamless way to find content and use it in any distribution channel without having to re-engineer the infrastructure every time. Workflow, says Albano, is critical. "We're in the workflow," he says. "We hear the pain points."
RELATED ARTICLE: Tip: Deploying DAM
Items to consider before implementing your DAM system:
* This is a business problem, not a technology problem. Think big, but start small with areas where business users can see an immediate impact and low risk of implementation. You want a high probability of success and a high return, whether that's in cost savings or implemental revenue.
* Deployment of DAM shouldn't be based on revenue opportunities alone because they're hard to quantify and hard to measure.
* Prototype, prototype, prototype. Do basic functions and features, get feedback from users, make changes and keep repeating the functionality until you're done. Don't go for the big bang big bang
Model of the origin of the universe, which holds that it emerged from a state of extremely high temperature and density in an explosive expansion 10 billion–15 billion years ago. and just present the system thinking your people will automatically buy into it. They need to be part of the process.
* Agreeing on metadata will take longer than you think. Strive to be close enough, knowing that this will evolve as you go through the process.
* Be skeptical. Ask vendors to "prove it." When asking for a demonstration, be very specific about asking what they should show you. Use your data for the demonstration.
* Understand system limitations. The biggest misconception mis·con·cep·tion
A mistaken thought, idea, or notion; a misunderstanding: had many misconceptions about the new tax program. is that your asset management system is going to provide the ability to locate, audition, translate, edit and publish any form of media in an all-in-one scenario.
* When dealing with digitizing "Digitizer" redirects here. For the computer device, see Digitizing tablet. For the digitizer in Tablet PC's, see Tablet PC.
Digitizing or digitization assets, develop a business case to determine where the immediate ROI is and how you can gradually expand to develop assets and processes that will bring the most value. You can't sweep archives under the rug, but you can look deeper at usage going forward. Key-in the most valuable assets as quickly as possible.
Source: Max Locke and Rona Levine, Deloitte & Touche and Deloitte Consulting Media & Entertainment Practice (New York New York, state, United States
New York, Middle Atlantic state of the United States. It is bordered by Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and the Atlantic Ocean (E), New Jersey and Pennsylvania (S), Lakes Erie and Ontario and the Canadian province of , NY)
Ken August is managing partner, Media & Entertainment Solutions practice, Deloitte & Touche (New York, NY)