DAM conference spotlights successes and hurdles

While many of the same technology and cost issues discussed last year continue to plague widespread adoption of digital asset management (DAM) technology, the urgency to implement such systems has increased due to the availability of cell phones and other portable devices that can receive video and animated text messaging.

That was one of the underlying messages to come out of the most recent Henry Stewart Digital Asset Management Symposium, held in New York City this week. The technology necessary to ingest, encode, manage and retrieve content is now mature enough to be trusted by IT managers, and the business case for implementing a DAM system is now apparent to most, especially those in management positions where the money to invest in the technology must come from.

What many media companies that own vast libraries of video and still imagery now agree on is that the market is now ready to use DAM systems to supply content to the new subscription-based distribution platforms, such as cell phones and the Internet. Anyone considering installing a DAM system should first determine the reason for the investment.

Several representatives of large media companies in attendance at the symposium said they often have a hard time convincing people that using the tools on their desktop computer and “getting it themselves” is more efficient than calling on the phone to the in-house librarian to ask them to retrieve an asset for them.

Getting everyone involved with the production process to encode content once and then handle files in the same format is another remaining challenge. At Discovery Networks, they’ve implemented a policy to have producers submit TV programs as Windows Media 9 encoded files, which can be sent from anywhere in the world. This has made the company more efficient and saved lots of time and wasted money during the approval process.

It’s clear that selling the idea of what a DAM system can do for a broadcast network or single station is no longer the challenge. Now it’s about having a roadmap of where you want your station/company to go in the future and implementing a controlled strategy that gets you there.

What’s also evident is that the technology to implement such DAM systems is now within reach and mature enough to help any environment more productive. Companies like Artesia, Globix, Harris, Microsoft, North Plains Systems, Onstream Media and others all exhibited new technologies at the show.

Onstream promoted a new ASP program, using its Digital Media Services Platform, that enables anyone, including signal stations, to use the technology with very little capital investment. For roughly $2000 per month, Onstream will provide the networking and asset management tools required to manage and search and retrieve a broadcaster’s assets from the desktop. For significantly more, the company will help a broadcaster develop additional revenue streams via new services, such as sending content to portable devices.

For more information, visit www.DAMusers.com.

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