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Media Asset Management: What Does It Really Mean?

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Media asset management (MAM) is sometimes used interchangeably with digital asset management (DAM). They both help manage assets, but are they really the same thing? Sort of…

What is media asset management?

Media asset management (MAM) is the process and software used to manage high-volume video and multimedia files. It originated within the film and broadcast industry to accommodate the need to manage large rich media files. As a result, MAM became an essential part of the video production process as it allows you to store and manage your rich media library from a centralized, reliable source.

What's the difference between media asset management and DAM?

Sounds a lot like DAM, right? Well, you’re correct.

As DAM has grown over the years to be able to better support rich media files, the gap between MAM and DAM has narrowed. Originally, DAM functioned as a photo, graphics, and file library, before it evolved to support rich media assets and the video production process.

Today, MAM and DAM are often confused as they're both solutions used to store, manage, and access digital assets. In addition, they both streamline the content creation and distribution processes. They both make it easy to use assets and track that usage with analytics. And they both ensure safe, long-term storage of large files. The distinction lies in the two systems’ intended use.

Since MAM was created to support the video production process, its functionality tends to best serve industries working primarily within rich media content management workflows. But as today’s video production process often involves more than just video and audio files, media teams are increasingly opting for evolved DAM systems over more specialized MAM tools.

Which is right for you: DAM or media asset management?

Let’s break it down a little further to see what MAM or DAM can do for you.

Upholding brand integrity
Your brand is your identity. You need to protect it, share it, and manage it. While a MAM system can help you manage your rich media files, a DAM system keeps your whole brand in check. Its security features, distribution capabilities, and permissioning structure are designed to provide easy, reliable access to the content that powers your brand.

Integrations with rich media production tools
Rich media production relies on great editing tools. And moving between these tools and your asset management system can add time to your day that you can’t spare. Thus, integrations with your editing tools are pivotal to keeping your workflows running smoothly.

MAM and most DAM software are able to integrate with your creative tools, so make sure to keep a list of your most-used software handy when shopping for a MAM or DAM system. Also, note that integrations might function differently between vendors or there could be options for a custom-built connector via an API. Seeing a demo of the integration prior to selection will help you make the right decision.

Project management and cross-team collaboration
Teams today span the globe, or at the very least, the department floor. So communication between teams is critical. Integrations with other marketing technology (martech) can enhance collaboration and tracking to help your teams stay connected. Integrations with these tools are standard for most DAM systems, while they might not be for MAM tools. Understanding the possibilities when you’re coming up with your list of must-haves will help you narrow down your search.

Serving the full content lifecycle
While MAM focuses primarily on managing assets, most DAM systems also support the entire content lifecycle from project requests to asset archival. This is commonly achieved via apps within a single platform combined with integration options that allow companies to customize the process based on their own workflow. Making DAM the foundation of your martech stack to support your content lifecycle aligns your teams and provides consistency in your process. 

Making your asset management decision

As you can see, the lines between MAM and DAM are a little blurred. A MAM system could be the right choice for you and your company if your main goal is managing rich media files. But now that DAM systems support rich media assets and more, organizations are relying on DAM to provide a solid, scalable foundation for their brand.

When it comes to managing your assets, we strongly encourage you to do so with a solution that best fits the needs of your company. Determining the current and future asset needs of your organization will help you figure out if MAM or DAM best solves your rich media woes. Then, it’s a matter of choosing the right platform and partner for you.

Learn more about digital asset management and how the Widen Collective® can support your rich media content needs.

Topics: DAM, Video

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