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Demand for tools to manage digital content increases

Despite years of difficulty in achieving success, new technologies and standards coupled with lower costs are driving a new interest in the management of digital content, a new report finds.

The report, “Digital Asset Management & Workflow Management in the Broadcast Industry: Survey & Analysis,” by Multimedia Research Group, focused on digital asset management (DAM) and workflow management (WFM) systems within the broadcast media sector.

Reflecting on the past six years, the study notes a shift has occurred from localized tape-based storage to enterprise disk-based storage (for video content), triggered by the standardization and lower prices of large servers in the IT industry. For example, it found that broadcasters regularly use funds destined for VTR replacement and tape stock to finance new DAM and WFM systems. Some of the broadcasters found that this conversion to disk-based storage could match productivity of the old tape-based systems in just six months.

Multimedia Research Group said the report includes findings from surveys conducted with U.S. networks, station groups and channel broadcasters regarding industry-wide challenges and technology requirements, and the approaches taken by leading equipment manufacturers to address broadcasting’s pain points. It also compares and contrasts IT-based “new media” infrastructures with traditional broadcast video infrastructures.

Findings revealed that, despite years of halting starts by large broadcasters trying to wrestle their growing media assets into submission, those efforts yielded disappointing results. Early experiments in tapeless studios and DAM, for example, achieved only limited success, seldom reaching beyond basic content indexing, play-logs, and limited searching capability for programming and advertising.

Starting in 1998, large U.S. studios began to fund enterprise-wide DAM/WFM upgrades with the goals of gaining a competitive edge, replacing videotape machines, increasing productivity and generating new revenues from existing media assets. The survey tracks the progress of DAM and WFM products against these goals and other criteria. In all but the last goal, the installations have shown a marked increase in their success at the multi-departmental level.

While DAM is far ahead of WFM in product maturity, the report found that DAM itself has some significant challenges to master. A critical role now exists for WFM, as the pressure mounts on studios and broadcasters to significantly lower their operational costs, increase their quality and continue to re-use assets for additional revenue.

The full 85-page report is available from MRG via e-mail at

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