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 (1) understanding how DAM and MAM function and (2) knowing what assets primarily need a DAM or MAM.

Media asset management systems (MAM) predate digital asset management systems (DAM).  Media asset management 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 systems 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 started to include video and audio support, however the workflows within the DAM do not model the demands of film making and broadcasters.  That is why DAM will probably 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, legacy DAMs – for example, OpenText Media Management – can handle both DAM and MAM functions because the DAM or the vendor started with a MAM. However, legacy systems are usually not the solution for everyone because of the cost and the staff needed to maintain them.  In general, most non-legacy DAMs may not provide the best workflows or features for audio and video files.

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

  • 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.
  • Company with short videos and less emphasis on video production:  This scenario assumes the company makes short training videos and pod casts, but the bulk of the assets are not video or audio files.  In this scenario a DAM will suffice if the workflow for the videos and pod casts can be managed outside of the DAM or the DAM is limited for archiving and version tracking.  Some DAMs support video transcoding and limited workflow capabilities.
  • 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.
  • Video archiving without video production: A DAM may be a better fit than a MAM.

Need help deciding which system is the right path?  Contact us; we will be happy to help you.