Asset Management for Post & Broadcast, MAM, PAM or DAM?

video, media management, cloud, hybrid-cloud, on-premise, services, shared storage, vmware certified

I assume you’re reading this article because you have already decided storing hard drives and camera media in a desk drawer is not a good idea and you’re looking for a better way to manage your content. Time to skip past the many stages of grief related to lost media and awkward file sharing, and move forward with improving the accessibility and uses for your content resources.

Some really good news
With recent advancements in virtualization and cloud resources, the cost and ease organizing your media has taken a quantum leap forward. First let’s agree on some terms for the common types of asset management systems.



Post and broadcast production asset management systems:

  • DAM (Digital Asset Management)
  • PAM (Production Asset Management)
  • MAM (Media Asset Management)

  • In most post and broadcast environments, a Production Asset Management system (PAM) is perfect. For Larger applications or tighter integration with other business systems, a Media Asset Management system (MAM) is a more functional and customizable choice. Digital Asset Manager systems (DAM) can be used for post and broadcast, however MAMs are typically used with DAMs to provide better workflow functionality.

    Secure Sharing & Remote Access
    PAMs, MAMs or DAMs consider secure files sharing with coworkers and clients to be a core feature. Assets can be directly accessed via browsers or other applications, saving everyone time and effort. To minimize bandwidth for these purposes, proxy (low resolution) versions of the files are used with access to the full resolution version for download as needed. This is the single most important issues when determining system hardware and cloud resources.

    Clients requiring remote access or working on mobile devices can also require real-time proxies. In general, the more proxies you need, the more processing you’ll need. If your demands moves beyond a few editors or require real-time proxies, special hardware or dedicated cloud/virtual services may be required (ie: it can get expensive quickly). However the flexibility and benefits may be well worth the extra costs.

    MAMs, Future Proofing & APIs
    For larger applications, MAMs can provide real-time access to data for other business systems. This opens up functionality for ecommerce, traffic, compliance and many other crucial business functions. Communication with other business systems is usually managed through a common application programming interface or “API”. The need for APIs is largely related to customization and real-time data sharing. For systems requiring customization or sharing program data, API is a big feature. If you think APIs will become important for your future needs, this may determine if the extra cost for a MAM compared to a PAM is a good value. If you invest in a MAM, you should confirm the API documentation is well maintained and supported by the manufacturer.

    Ease of Use Is Everything
    Editors don’t like to leave the editing application while they are working. For this reason, PAMs or MAMs that allow editors to access and manage assets from within a workflow application’s user interface are highly valued. To accomplish this, the MAM or PAM asset features appear as a panel or menu option. This is a big time saver as bouncing between applications becomes unnecessary. DAMs don’t usually provide this feature for post and broadcast applications.

    Comparing Systems
    Each asset management system has its strengths, weaknesses and specialized features. There are 100’s of manufacturers, and each have their own market focus. Let’s compare MAMs, PAMs and DAMs from the post production and broadcast perspectives. Below is a brief comparison for each system type.

    PAM (Production Asset Management)
    – Advantages:

  • Work directly inside production editing “panels” (Adobe/Avid/Resolve)
  • Self service secure Access to assets by 3rd parties
  • Cost is inexpensive to moderate compared to DAMs and MAMs
  • Interface and functionality can be fine tuned for post production and broadcast applications
  • Special Features include collaboration and easy of secure sharing
  • – Limitations:
  • Difficult to manage some media types not specific to post production and broadcast
  • Managing archived or near-line media (cloud, disk or tape) may required 3rd party applications
  • May be specific to storage manufacturer (Avid, Editshare, SNS, etc.)
  • Limited in ability to integrate with mission critical business systems
  • Upper limits on size of user base and quantity of media
  • May be editing platform specific (Adobe, Avid, etc.)
  • – Suggested PAM products:
    Editshare Flow, Avid Interplay, SNS ShareBrowser, Facilis FastTracker, ProMax Platform

    MAM (Media Asset Management)
    – Advantages:

  • Provides all features of a PAM
  • Designed to scale to unlimited number of users
  • Interface and functionality can be fine tuned beyond post production and broadcast applications
  • Special Features include high degree of customization and ability to manage enterprise applications
  • Can manage more media types than PAMs
  • Managing on-line, archived or near-line media (cloud, disk or tape) natively supported
  • – Limitations:
  • Cost is relatively more expensive compared to PAMs
  • Managing exclusively static documents can be less efficient than a DAM
  • May be editing platform specific (Adobe, Avid, etc.)
  • – Suggested MAM products:
    Arvato MediaPortal, Square Box Systems CatDV

    DAM (Digital Asset Management)
    – Advantages:

  • General purpose asset management
  • Handles a wide variety of documents and files
  • Usually designed to work in real-time with other business platforms
    – Limitations:
  • Can be difficult to manage some media types specific to post production and broadcast
  • May be limited in ability to integrate with mission critical applications like editing and workflow products
  • requires managing assets outside of post production and broadcast applications
  • – Suggested DAM products:
    MicroSoft Sharepoint, Workfront (formerly AtTask), Adobe

    Which One is Right for My Application? MAM, PAM or DAM?
    – Fear not! There is likely a product off the shelf that’s right for you… but it will take some tweaking.
    If this article helped answer a few questions, it likely created even more. Drilling down on the details of the many manufacturers and options can be the more challenging part of the process. We can help you get it right today while keeping an eye on future trends to protect your investment.

    Give us a call, chat or get a quick quote today!