16 Apr 2015

MAM vs. DAM – When To Use One Over the Other

The debate on selecting a Digital Asset Management (DAM) or a Media Asset Management (MAM) solution can be easily resolved.  The keys to resolving the debate are; understanding how DAM and MAM function and knowing what assets primarily need a DAM or MAM.

Understanding how DAM and MAM function

Media asset management (MAM) systems 

MAMs predate digital asset management systems (DAM).  MAM systems were developed to manage the workflows for broadcasters and filmmakers to handle the production and distribution of video and audio.  Usually, MAMs require special proprietary equipment for video and audio processing and transcoding.

Digital asset management (DAM) systems

DAMs were developed later to handle other types of files: photos, images, MS Office documents, images, etc.   The workflow systems within a DAM reflect the typical workflows for creative and marketing departments.  With the growing use of video channels, most DAMs include video and audio support.

Nowadays, most DAMs support Adobe Premiere video production to satisfy the growing need for marketing departments to produce video collateral. However, DAMs may not support the complex workflow demands of film making and broadcasters.  That is why DAM will not take over the MAM space.

Given DAM’s support for the most commonly used files – MS Office, photos, InDesign, video, audio, etc. – there is a strong temptation to use a DAM as a single solution.

There are a few systems that have both DAM and MAM functions.  Usually, mature DAMs – for example, OpenText Media Management – can handle both DAM and MAM functions because the DAM or the vendor started with a MAM.

However, mature DAM systems are usually not the solution for everyone because of the cost and the staff needed to maintain them.  Nowadays, most DAMs support video and audio files however their capabilities may not provide the best workflows or features for broadcasting and complex video production works in progress.

Knowing what assets primarily need a DAM or MAM

Below is a simple guide to follow based upon business scenarios:

1. Broadcasting, streaming, and motion picture production

A MAM will be able to handle the industry’s demands and workflows.  For non-audio and non-video files, a DAM will be needed.  The alternative is to use an enterprise DAM/MAM that can handle both functions.

2. Company or organization with less emphasis on video production

This scenario assumes the company makes short training videos, ads, and podcasts, but the bulk of the assets are not related to video or audio production.  In this scenario, a DAM will suffice if the workflow for the videos and podcasts can be managed outside of the DAM or the DAM is limited for archiving and version tracking.  Several DAM may leverage collections as a way to manage the related video production files and assets. Most DAMs support a degree of video transcoding and workflow/approval capabilities.

3. Company that primarily makes short videos or audio files

A low or mid-tier MAM may be the best solution.  A lite DAM may suffice in managing the other files.

4. Video archiving without video production

A DAM may be a better fit than a MAM.

Is it DAM, MAM, or both solutions?

In some situations, the answer is both solutions integrating with one another. The video production or broadcast team uses the MAM to work on video production. The photography, creative, and communications departments use the DAM for photography, InDeisgn, marketing collateral, and distributing final video files. Often, the DAM and MAM are integrated together so that final video is passed to the DAM and MAM users can access assets from the DAM for video production.

Need help deciding which system is the right path? We will be happy to help you!