Content creators and media enterprises of every size face diverse challenges in optimizing their businesses to face today's market demands and tomorrow's opportunities. The need to improve efficiency and time-to-market, build audiences and expand business is common to all. Initiatives to achieve these goals vary in type and scope. Where some organizations undertake major business transformation projects, others seek solutions to specific operational challenges that can yield a quick, measurable return on investment.
In either case, a well designed and implemented MAM system is almost always a fundamental element of either approach. In fact, MAM has gone from a “nice to have” database technology a few years ago to an essential element of media business transformation. How is this so?
Simply put, MAM technology has evolved. The newest systems employ advanced architectures, powerful user tools and business processes automation capable of linking virtually any media or business system to create capabilities and efficiencies unthinkable just a few years ago.
Avid's Interplay MAM 4 media management system leads this trend. As a configurable and vendor-agnostic system, it is capable of addressing specific needs such as a central media archive that can be accessed by any on-site or remote user. Or, it can be deployed as a transformational solution that coordinates and unifies disparate media operations and business systems across an entire media enterprise.
The key elements of the system are:
- A flexible data model;
- Metadata strata;
- Configurable desktop and cataloger tools;
- Service Oriented Architecture (SOA) and Web services APIs; and
- Workflow orchestration using standard Business Process Management Logic (BPML).
Data model and strata
A basic MAM system task is management of media essence and metadata so assets are easy to find, access and re-use. However, assets can be diverse, and needs are certain to change over time. Interplay MAM 4 offers rich capabilities to define, maintain, modify and extend the fundamental data structure or data model. The ability to define hierarchies attributes, groups, processes and associations, as well as the ability to create, import and enforce standard terms, ensures that assets can be easily retrieved even by highly specific criteria.
A unique feature of the system is time-based metadata tracks or strata. Stratification allows annotation of video to any timecode segment. Each stratum can be dedicated to a particular category of searchable metadata such as restrictions, source information or content notes, and strata can be added, modified, associated with objects and deleted without interrupting operations. (See Figure 1.)
Even with sophisticated technology, a MAM implementation will fall short if its users find it difficult to use or challenging to quickly find and reuse media. Interplay Desktop is a Web-based application that enables local or remote PC and Mac users to access media from any location at any time, and is configurable to support different user roles and preferences. Through the application, users can do basic video editing, organize and associate media, save searches, create EDLs, edit processes, and more. A new frame-accurate player engine provides the feel and response of a professional editing system. (See Figure 2.)
For archivists, editing assistants and loggers, Interplay Cataloger is an application especially for creating and modifying metadata. Users can frame-accurately set in and out points in any selected stratum and enter related segment metadata.
SOA and Web services
Interplay MAM 4 is entirely built as a service-oriented architecture (SOA). SOA allows functionality to be presented as a service that is brokered by a provider and can be applied to fulfill process tasks by any internal or third-party requestor, including other media applications or business ERP systems. Not only does this make it easier to leverage and add to system functionality, but also it simplifies interoperation with third-party systems. The system is inherently vendor-agnostic, with more than 60 integrations to date from more than 35 third-party vendors of video server, storage, editing, newsroom, automation, scheduling, video and audio digitization, archive management, image conversion, video analysis, and quality control systems.
The system enables the automation of workflows and business processes. Through scripted steps and a sophisticated business process engine, automation of ingest, production, multi-platform distribution, and archiving processes and linkage between them can be easily described, implemented, modified and reused. The recent addition of graphical modeling using standard Business Process Modeling Notation (BPMN) enables drag-and-drop workflow building and reuse, and enables quicker, error-free workflow design and modification. (See Figure 3.)
Successful MAM implementation requires knowledgeable requirements assessment, planning and implementation. Whether addressing one or more operational needs, Interplay MAM has enabled a large variety of media businesses to:
- Reduce media operations cost by lowering overhead and maximizing creative output;
- Improve business agility by enabling quicker response to opportunity;
- Optimize multi-platform distribution by automating delivery of targeted content;
- Create more compelling content through fast media access and better repurposing; and
- Become more future-proof with the ability to expand or modify the system as needs change.
Media asset management is a transformational technology for a new business environment, and its importance will only continue to grow.
James Frantzreb is the senior market segment manager, media enterprises at Avid.