White Paper: Media-Asset Management — The Key to Business Success
By Kevin Usher, director of segment and product marketing, broadcast and media, Avid
In today’s media environment, enterprises are under intense pressure to improve content monetization and maximize operational efficiency. They’re expected to create more content for more platforms and deliver it to more people, so they have to find new ways to secure revenues, differentiate services to earn audience loyalty, and deliver all these services at a lower cost.
One of the key routes to achieving this goal is through media-asset management (MAM). Originally, asset management was seen as a low-level function, a means of keeping track of content, especially as the repository became a set of files stored on servers or in a data archive.
Today, MAM is seen as a key strategic investment. It provides wide-scale access to content, and it can take an active role in identifying and promoting content that has a revenue opportunity attached to it. As the repository of metadata, it’s the heart of workflow processes and automation. As the workflow engine, MAM should drive automated processes, thereby reducing costs and serving more markets and outlets.
To determine today’s attitudes towards MAM, Avid recently commissioned research company Ovum Consulting to survey business leaders on their views. Ovum spoke to 125 senior executives in 21 countries.
One of the key findings is that the ability of a MAM system to increase operational efficiency is valued. Sixty-six percent of respondents felt that their MAM system had lowered their multiplatform distribution costs. Fifty percent said it had improved real-time collaboration between creative media professionals. And a staggering 82% believe that MAM delivers a return on investment of 10% or better. They saw a 20% average cost reduction in multiplatform delivery, coupled with a 17% revenue increase due to faster production and distribution.
It was clear from the findings, though, that MAM cannot deliver benefits on its own. It has to be part of a widely integrated system that provides seamless and, where practical, automated workflows across multiple vendors’ solutions. MAM may be the heart of the system, but, if it doesn’t interwork with peripherals, a lot of its value is lost.
Sixty-seven percent of respondents identified poor integration with existing broadcasting systems as the most likely reason for MAM implementations to fail to deliver the predicted benefits. Fifty-three percent saw insufficient understanding of metadata as the potential hurdle, and 50% noted the lack of process-improvement programs associated with the implementation.
The real benefits of a modern MAM system come in the ability to store, update, and maintain comprehensive metadata and to use this to drive automated workflows. This can happen only in an organization that has reviewed all its processes and considered how best they can be accomplished; otherwise, achieving advances in audience engagement, operational efficiency, and cost saving is unlikely.
Given that the survey found that organizations are planning a modest growth in MAM expenditure in the coming years, where do they see the key benefits?
There was widespread agreement that MAM streamlines workgroup collaboration and multiplatform distribution; two-thirds of respondents stated that as an important factor. Half the respondents stated that MAM facilitates real-time workgroup collaboration across multiple locations.
This can be linked to a second key finding: vital key performance indicators (KPIs) aren’t just multiplatform-distribution costs but, perhaps even more important, reduced lead time for new digital service launches. If you have a new idea, you want it on-air or online as quickly as possible to stay ahead of the competition.
Thirty percent of respondents stated that reducing operational and multiplatform distribution costs was their primary KPI for MAM. More than a quarter saw revenue increases thanks to a faster go-to-market strategy, seeing an average 19% increase in revenue.
On the other hand, there’s a widespread feeling that poor third-party integration, metadata issues, and a lack of process-improvement impedes the success of MAM systems. Sixty-seven percent of respondents cited poor integration with broadcasting systems as an important pain point. Particularly in North America, the absence of a process-improvement program was seen as a major challenge for enterprise-wide adoption.
That links into the fourth issue, which is that media enterprises are keen to move toward vertical integration of their management systems and, ultimately, toward business-process outsourcing (BPO). They recognize that the MAM system is a critical link between core activities — creating, managing, and delivering engaging content — and BPO. Forty-two percent of executives expressed moderate to high levels of interest in piloting an asset-management/BPO proposition. This is certain to be a growing trend.
The final key finding from the report concerns future content. With an already high return on investment, respondents expect rapid expansion in the amount of content and that MAM will continue to offer savings. Half of those surveyed felt that, by 2020—just five years away—their content inventory will increase fivefold.
There’s also the consideration that at least some of that new content will be in new, perhaps as yet unidentified formats. Respondents expect around 5% of their content to be 4K or 8K, but Ultra HD is still being defined, and the flexibility to store and manage new formats is vital.
A Solution to Challenges
Today, MAM is widely seen as a fundamental component of any media enterprise, and users are confident about its ability to deliver a return on investment. It has proved to solve key business and operational challenges that many media organizations face today. However, to achieve a successful outcome, MAM should be designed and implemented in close collaboration with the customer. Understanding their needs at every stage, from design through to implementation and beyond, is imperative.
In conjunction, the MAM system needs to be future-proofed to meet whatever new challenges in media formats and creativity that media organizations will face in the future. Therefore, flexibility, extendibility, and the scalability to address specific business or operational needs are paramount requirements of a MAM system, especially if total media-enterprise transformation is the ultimate goal.