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MAM Leaders Series Blog: Viljar Mee, ERR

The TVBEurope MAM Leaders’ Series, in association with Avid, is an exclusive thought leadership initiative comprising a series of roundtables, interviews and regular blogs

The TVBEurope MAM Leaders’ Series, in association with Avid, is an exclusive thought leadership initiative comprising a series of roundtables, interviews and regular blogs from the industry’s leading authorities. Focusing exclusively on asset management, the Leaders’ Series was officially launched at a dedicated roundtable event at The Shard, London, on 5 March, and will continue with another event to be hosted at the same venue on 24 November. Our blog series continues with an article by Viljar Mee, head of development, MAM, Estonian Public Broadcasting (ERR)

Estonian Public Broadcasting (ERR) has been involved in the archiving of vast amounts of material – from magnetic tapes to film or paper – in order to conserve our precious cultural heritage. Our first goal was to create an ecosystem where we could retain our new content and also transform our history to digital form, and make it available to the public.

Back in 2007, we started looking for ways to do this. Our situation was no different from any other similar organisation, and due to our size and financial capabilities, we had a huge challenge in front of us. A lot of time went into researching different products and solutions on the market. Based on our findings we formed a clear view of how things should work. Our primary objective was to have a system that, in addition to fitting our current requirements, was open for future ideas and extension. In the public procurement battle, a BlueOrder MediaArchive solution (now known as Avid Interplay I MAM) emerged as a winner.

In light of very tight budget, our first implementation included only a few basic workflows: one that allowed us to ingest digital content and migrate existing metadata from PROVYS TVoffice, the programme planning and scheduling system used in ERR to Interplay I MAM, and another that allowed us to publish content to our public web archive. It may sound like very little, but there was actually a lot of work that went into achieving this: analysing existing metadata; creating object classes that fit our requirements; transforming metadata exported from other databases; interfacing our existing hardware and LTO tape library to the system; and creating interface tweaks to make publishing content easy for our archive people.

There are two options with the Avid Interplay MAM system: you can order a turnkey solution, or start tweaking the system yourself. While the former may be a very good way for organisations that do not have the technical competence readily available, we decided to go with the latter: we have technically capable people working in our organisation and we were not afraid to use them. Our solution not only included user training, but also development training. With that knowledge, existing code examples, and extensive documentation of the Interplay I MAM system’s inner workings, we were armed with everything we needed to challenge the final frontier: we felt like starship captains!

The system is highly customisable. All of the web services that make up the system are well documented and available to use in workflow scripting, and the data model is also customisable. It really is like playing with Lego pieces to build whatever we want. To call Interplay I MAM just a media asset management system does it no justice. We would call it a media asset management framework: one way to manage media.

Avid’s latest white paper, A Content Everywhere Gameplan, in association with Ovum, addresses the most commonly cited questions pertaining to core value and ROI of MAM technology to media enterprises in the emerging content everywhere era. You can download the white paper from the NewBay Connect website.