20 years ago computerised Media Asset Management systems MAM’s transformed broadcast and media operations – one way or another. In the period since these have slowly, and sometimes painfully, evolved into sophisticated media systems around which much of typical operation is centred. The breadth of functionality and capability of some modern MAMs is sufficient to warrant a new epithet.
A new Three Letter Acronym (TLA) entered the broadcast and media industry lexicon in 2016 – MOM. More prosaic than maternal this TLA stands for Media Operations Management. First observed in a Sony published paper in the early summer it was still to be heard in the halls of the Rai at IBC in mid-September. Rather than being ephemeral, vendor-specific marketing bullshit this abbreviation highlights a shift in emphasis in considering a media operation as a whole rather than a collection of media handling and management technologies.
This blog briefly explains why MAM just isn’t enough anymore and how a MOM strategy can help your media business thrive.
Before we can define MOM we should first review the meaning of MAM: Media asset management is the process of storing, cataloguing, indexing and creating relationships between media assets to aid their discovery (searching) and exploitation (creative use.) Media assets might include images, video, audio, graphics, animations and a variety of other content. For as long as there has been media we have sought to organise it, particularly if there is revenue attached to it. The ability to know where your assets are, find them and use them appropriately is a core requirement of every media operation, and, depending on the size of your organisation, you might use anything from an Excel spreadsheet to a Dropbox “folder structure” or “proper” MAM software underpinned by a structured database.
MAM systems are all largely evolutions of hand-written card files and ledgers, with a modern MAM likely to consist of browser-based tools which include content preview capability (video players) and provide simplified and intuitive operations such as drag and drop. MAM has latterly become a ‘thing’ rather than a process, when we refer to MAM now we refer to the tangible technologies that deliver the capability – “we have an X2000 MAM from ACME MAMs.” But some MAM vendors have extended their capability to the extent that the MAM term undersells the true power of the system. MOM, on the other hand, is still more of an approach than a ‘thing’
If you own or manage a production or media handling facility you already have ‘a’ MOM system in place. Your operational teams which manage the day-to-day business are doing MOM. They define processes, procedures and systems that run the business – they are your workflow engine. Management information and operational workflow is based on knowledge and is verbally communicated / driven. You use your X2000 MAM technology to organise your media during production or processing but MOM is largely human and insights are based on familiarity and experience.
There are many tools, such as project planning and booking systems, which help define process and manage these human tasks, but these tools often run in isolation from each other and, crucially, are disconnected from the MAM that is tracking the resource and deliverables assets.
Progressive MAM vendors are now integrating the traditional MAM functionality with operational management competencies – creating the new MOM capability. Extending and linking software systems to include workflow and task management, together with reporting and empirical management information can provide the agility that differentiates a business that survives from one that thrives.
Media Operations management tools enable facility managers to create workflows with automated functions, but also provide task management to drive the human operation. Where you would otherwise have to brief individual team members, book resources and manage delivery for individual tasks within a project, employing a media operations management system centralises communication, resource allocation and orchestrates the machines and the people. Linking the operational management tools to the MAM further streamlines project management by linking tasks to production assets and ensures that your creative teams utilise 100% of their time on creative work.
The real power of MOM is reporting, particularly real-time reporting. Media operations management tools should provide a view across multiple systems through a single unified presentation layer – enabling managers to identify issues and highlight opportunities. Having a birds-eye-view of an operation makes it easy to identify operational or resource (human or machine) bottlenecks and avoid duplicated effort. When integrated with human resource and facility booking systems, MOM tools help you manage capacity and identify where additional resources are required. In disconnected systems manual data collection and processing often misses issues or identifies them too late.
In conclusion, Media operations management is a ‘thing’ but probably not a single ‘thing’. MOM is underpinned by MAM, combines this capability with task-based workflow and machine automation but also provides business insights by providing a complete view of the end-to-end operation. Sounds good doesn’t it?
Blue Lucy’s Asset Manager has provided true MOM capability before the term entered the industry vocabulary. Hats off to those who coined the term as it articulates succinctly a new and exciting area for media operations. Get in touch to find out more about BLAM or to arrange a trial.