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Asset management

18 April 2011
Asset management

Media asset management is a term which has been much abused. You will find some suppliers who claim to be able to offer media asset management systems for a few thousand euros. What you get, of course, is a simple database for your content, which does nothing to help you run your business. The first requirement is that an asset management system should manage both the content and the metadata, which means it must know where the content is. Beware of systems called ‘digital’ asset management because they will only look at content which has already been digitised, whereas in the real world much of a broadcaster’s content – probably the majority – will be in physical form on the shelf. The back catalogue will only be digitised when it is needed. Crews are shooting today on HDCAM tapes. You might want to associate other artefacts – scripts or props – with the production. Second, the broadcaster or production company works with three core components: the media itself, of course, but also workflow processes and the technical and human resources to carry out those processes. I believe that, to be really useful, the media asset management system should have a view over all three. A simple system will tell you that you have a piece of content. But what you really need to know is if you have the rights to use that content for other productions and other distribution platforms, what form it is currently in, if you have the technical resources to convert it to a new format, and when you can deliver it. Ideally, you really want to know what the cost of the workflow will be, because then you have a basis for pricing and an understanding of if you are making money. 

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