What’s a media asset management system?

For anyone dealing with large media files, you know that storing them in your network drive is not sustainable.

Eventually, you’ll run out of space, teammates won’t be able to find anything and you’ll likely end up duplicating content.

Perhaps you’re already experiencing this. 😭

If so, it’s time to consider an asset management system. Whether you pick digital asset management (DAM) or media asset management (MAM) will depend on your needs.

In this article, we’ll go into detail about what a media asset management system is, so you can determine which tool is best for your brand. ✨

What type of files are media assets?

Media assets are multimedia files typically used by media and production companies. Some common types of media assets include:

  • Videos
  • Audio files
  • Animation
  • Social media clips

For example, you might have video footage of a local football match or news snippets that you’ve edited for social media. Like digital assets, media assets are valuable to your company because you put time and money into creating them. That’s why you’ve got to look after them!

What’s media asset management?

MAM is a specialised digital asset management system ideal for production companies working with lots of large audio and video files. It provides a searchable location for you to find, manage and share content that would otherwise get lost in your shared drives.

Say you’re a news production company that regularly films local stories. A MAM would be the place you’d go to upload footage, share with your teams and distribute to local broadcasters. Some MAMs even come with video editing tools, but we’ll get into the features in just a moment.

DAM vs MAM: what’s the difference?

All digital asset management solutions - from general DAMs to more specialist tools like MAM and brand asset management (BAM)s - are used by brands as a single source of truth for their content.

General DAMs, like Dash, are built for all types of creative assets like photography, website banners, social videos - you name it. They're great for companies creating a variety of visual content, not just long-form videos.

But if you're a media company, you'll want something more tailored to your needs. That's where MAMs come in. They're not built for all types of content, but they'll have specialist features for creating, storing and using large media files.

Features of media asset management

So what kind of features can you expect in a MAM? Whilst DAM and MAM share similar features like uploading, downloading, permissions and version control, there are a few that are more important for teams needing media asset management.

Store and search your video content

Searching and storing assets is something both MAM and DAM tools are good at. That’s why we’ve used our very own Dash and fake brand, Planto, to bring it to life ✨

Say you’re a media company that films sports events. You’ll need a MAM to keep all of that footage in one, searchable location. These big, chunky files can’t just sit on your desktop or company server. They take up too much space. Instead, media asset management will give you (almost) unlimited room in the cloud. You’ll be able to use metadata to search and find files. And you’ll be able to share that content with the rest of your team.

Where a DAM, like Dash, might come in handy instead is if you also have lots of images and graphics, as well as your video files. When searching for an image, you can simply type in the keyword and Dash will quickly bring up relevant search results. Let’s search for ‘palm tree’ in Planto’s Dash:

Search images in Dash

You can also select different custom tags (on the left-hand side) to narrow down your search. This makes searching super-easy and means you won’t be trawling through your shared drives for the latest product images anymore. 🙌

Edit and publish video content

Media asset management systems often come with built-in tools to help you edit and publish video content. For example, editing and preparing football match videos for broadcasting on websites and social media.

If you already use editing software, a good MAM will allow you to integrate with tools like Adobe Premier Pro. By having everything in one central location, you’ll cut down on the back and forth between network drives, editing tools and publishing platforms.

Make money from your content

Another feature of media asset management is content monetisation. 🤑 This is particularly important for media production companies that sell their footage to news broadcasters.

Say you’ve got footage of a local football match and you need to send it to your local news broadcaster. Some MAMs give you the ability to set up credit packages that the broadcasting team can purchase - a similar format to many stock image sites.

Manage licenses and rights

This is another feature that both MAM and DAM are good at. And it’s a big one for anyone working in the media industry. If organisations are purchasing your video assets, you’ll need to make sure rights and licenses are formalised and included in any packages that you sell. Media asset management solutions will let you manage and edit metadata to include information that’ll keep your files from being used without your permission.

If you opt for a digital asset management system, like Dash, you’ll also be able to tag images and videos with usage rights and expiry dates.

rights and licenses in Dash

What industries use MAM?

Media asset management is used by businesses that produce and distribute multimedia content. That could be anyone working in film production, news, broadcasting and media agencies.

DAM, on the other hand, is used by brands that need to distribute content to their marketing channels. This could be an ecommerce brand that needs to share product images with its agencies and resellers.

How much does MAM cost?

The price of a MAM will, of course, vary from vendor to vendor. Because of the complicated functionality needed (like the post and pre-production tools), you’ll likely need to put aside a bigger budget than you would for a DAM like Dash, (which starts at just £69/$90 a month).

Take a look at G2 to compare different MAM tools. Although, be warned that many vendors don’t advertise their pricing - especially if they're targeted at enterprise companies.

DAM vs MAM: What solution should I pick for my brand?

As we’ve covered, MAM is ideal if you’re dealing with lots of large video files. This specialist digital asset management system will help you manage, edit and publish content. If you’re a media production company, MAM should be the way to go.

However, if you’re creating a variety of assets including product shots, web banners and graphics, a MAM will be limiting. Instead, pick a DAM that will support all types of content that your marketing teams are creating.

Our solution, Dash, is an ideal digital asset management solution for small and growing brands that’ve outgrown Google Drive and Dropbox.

Want to try Dash for yourself? Sign up for a 14-day free trial, no strings attached.

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