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New digital arena, managing assets, is springing from publishing and promising benefits.

Multimedia companies may expect to gain technology as more industries turn to digital asset management (DAM) systems, not only to handle their archives and other information internally, but also to reach across digital boundaries to their business partners.

Technology companies that have traditionally served the publishing market are seeing over new horizons. Among them are Atex Media Solutions Inc. of Bedford, Mass., which introduced its new multimedia management system, Omnex, at NEXPO '99 in June in Las Vegas. Atex made it clear that while at first it would build on its core market -- newspapers -- it intended to move into other markets that required management of many digital files.

Also taking this path is Artesia Technologies. Created by spinning off a unit started in 1996 by Thomson Consulting of Stamford, Conn. and Rockville, Md., Artesia intends to serve four markets by building on a product called The Editorial Asset Management System (TEAMS). The management buyout, financed by a $25 million commitment from Warburg Pincus Ventures of New York, was engineered when Thomson decided not to get immersed in selling software, according to Chris Veator, chief executive officer of Artesia, which is based in Rockville. (Thomson was not available to comment. The Cole Group, publishers of NewsInc., has consulted with Thomson Newspapers -- but not Thomson Consulting -- on digital asset management issues.)

The "original emphasis" of TEAMS was on publishing, Veator says (one customer is the Washington Post), but Thomson found "that the need and capability to do that extended well beyond the publishing marketplace." Thus, while Artesia is targeting information and media companies, it's also calling on the entertainment industry, Fortune 1000 companies and the federal government.

For media and entertainment companies, Veator says, asset management is "just absolutely critical to the ongoing competitiveness of those particular industries." And while the issue is less central to their survival, major corporations in other industries need tools to track information as never before. "They need to manage brand materials, knowledge and learning assets, and corporate communications," Veator says.

In that respect, they're much like newspapers; where they will lead publishers into new territory is in the exchange of information with trading partners. For example, Veator explains, companies now need to be able to exchange information with their advertising agencies almost continuously.

Publishers could use such a capability to work with advertisers, allowing them access to digital files stored by the newspaper and relieving the paper of some routine tasks, such as updating the content of individual ads.

Newspapers have already seen the need for digital archives, introduced in the '80s for internal use. In recent years, access to those archives began being sold over the Internet, creating a new revenue stream -- what Artesia calls a return on opportunity. A digital assets management system stores "in one place all of your previous articles, images and video," Veator says, but also creates "the ability to leverage those assets into different media."

The technology, he explains, opens the door to new markets: A newspaper could sell tailored information to a corporate client for distribution over its intranet. Artesia is working with an unnamed German paper which would like to take its business-oriented reporting and sell it to large corporate customers by using TEAMS to "bundle content," Veator says.

The concept, in short, is to create "private label" content for corporate clients -- a possible new market for publishers who give (and get) a DAM system.
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Copyright 1999 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Comment:New digital arena, managing assets, is springing from publishing and promising benefits.
Publication:NewsInc
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jul 5, 1999
Words:567
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