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Media Asset Management For The Masses

More and more broadcasters are investing in software-based media asset management systems that use metadata to track a piece of content from ingest through production to playout, then archive it in a way that allows easy future access. Above, a Bitcentral Oasis asset management and archive system at Raycom's WFXG Augusta, Ga. Click here to access TVNewsCheck’s NAB 2018 Resource Guide listing of MAM and storage vendors and products or here to download it as a PDF.

A decade ago, media asset management (MAM) was seen by most broadcasters as a big-ticket, luxury item, feasible for top-tier networks but beyond the financial means of pretty much everyone else.

MAM systems started at several hundred thousands of dollars, counting software and related storage, and often required significant additional spending on complex systems integration to make them actually work. Many broadcasters simply put them aside as a project for tomorrow.

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Come 2018, the television industry’s thinking about media asset management has definitely changed.

More and more broadcasters today are investing in software-based MAM systems that use metadata to track a piece of content from ingest through production to playout, then archive it in a way that allows easy future access.

Prices have come down, with many MAM vendors now selling modular solutions that start in the $50,000 range, and new cloud-based services can make archive storage far less expensive than traditional on-premise hardware.

A more important driver, say MAM vendors, is the pressure on broadcasters to compete in today’s multiplatform world, where even small-market TV stations are expected to deliver a wealth of content to the Web and mobile devices in addition to their core broadcasts.

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Having a way to easily find, access and repurpose their assets is now seen as a requirement of doing business.

“There’s a need to produce a lot more content in quantity, and curate pieces for multiple audiences,” says Arnaud Elnecave, VP of marketing for Dalet Digital Media Systems, which counts both the NBC and ABC O&Os as MAM customers. “That calls for a need to be way more efficient.”

The value of a MAM system is in being able to connect with disparate systems in a broadcast plant — or across multiple facilities — to quickly give a broadcaster unfettered access to content.

Improvements in software interfaces and interoperability standards mean that making a MAM system work is a much easier, less costly proposition than 10 or 15 years ago, says Elnecave.

And customers today better understand the value of making the investment, which starts at around $80,000-$90,000 for a system with 25 users and then scales up into the millions for big installations with hundreds of users.

“If you understand how to use it for a good digital transformation, it pays for itself,” Elnecave says.

With so much of broadcasters’ news content going to digital distribution, one of the focuses for Dalet is using data analysis to accurately measure how content is performing on social media platforms like Facebook.

The company is also developing new tools based on artificial intelligence (AI) to help journalists sift through the myriad sources of digital content that they are ingesting in a typical day.

“We’re adding machine learning and AI to help further automate processes with predictive analytics and better recommendations,” Elnecave says. “We’re introducing something called Content Discovery where the platform will suggest content that’s relevant to an assignment or piece they’re working on, and tie it in with video, audio or script, going from the pool of available content.”

MAM vendors like Dalet and Avid have their underpinnings in news production, while others like Pebble Beach and TransMedia Dynamics come from the master control/playout side of the house.

Ross Video, which launched Streamline in 2015 as an extension of technology it originally developed for its Xpression graphics system, is another player in the increasingly crowded MAM marketplace.

“I think that MAM is one thing that most broadcasters are realizing they probably should have invested in years ago, and they are prioritizing to invest in now,” says Jenn Jarvis, marketing product manager for Ross Video’s “Streamline” product.

“When you have an asset, but you actually can’t find it easily, it’s like you don’t have the asset. What’s the use of having it in-house if you can’t find it quickly?”

Tedial provides MAM systems that manage long-form content for marquee customers like Fox, HBO and Sony Pictures, and has been a leader in supporting the SMPTE Interoperable Master Format (IMF) standard, which makes it easier to reversion content for different international markets.

Now the Spanish firm is looking to grow its business into sports production by integrating with production asset management (PAM) systems from EVS and Snell Advanced Media.

The first step, taken last fall, was to create a content ingest tool for live feeds that allows the Tedial Evolution MAM system to share the same files and live metadata as the EVS IPDirector and immediately enter content into archive workflows. An early customer for that system was ITV Sport in London.

Now Tedial has created a new product, “Smart LIVE,” that combines that EVS integration with artificial intelligence (AI) to automatically create sports highlights for on-demand or social media distribution without any manual intervention.

“What we’re trying to do with the metadata is to ingest real-time stats, couple that with an AI engine, and automatically create highlights,” says Jerome Wauthoz, VP of products for Tedial, who will be demonstrating the system at NAB.


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Overnights, adults 18-49 for May 23, 2018
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