digital asset management

February 18, 2010 at 1:00 am 2 comments

Talent is an asset
You’ve got to understand that
Talent is an asset
And little Albert has it
Talent is an asset
And Albert surely has it

In my wanderings across the media landscape I have encountered, “Digital Asset Management”, “Media Asset Management”, “Content Management”, “Asset Management” etc. All terms which each of you have similarly faced. But, why so many terms for the inflection from tape to digital?

I believe the confusion arises out of workflow, product functionality and the need for vendor differentiation. Obfuscation is a remarkable sales tool, and perhaps this taxonomic confusion exemplifies the case of “those who cannot do – sell.”

On a much kinder note, perhaps the confusion is a natural response to a nascent technology, one born out of digital abstraction of a physical entity. You see, when you can touch something, as a human, your perception is that it has some innate value. When you cannot touch it, the value is diminished. Unless we actually have equity in the content, we lose the connection between perceived financial value and the invisible bits which ultimately express the value. In fact, we ascribe value to the infrastructure which enables those bits to be expressed i.e. network, PC, iPod, Plasma TV, STB etc. My theory for why even seemingly upstanding citizens engage in dubious ‘pirate’ activities. I also encountered this mindset in China in the mid 90’s when the value of a CD was in the medium i.e. the plastic, more so that what was on it. Similarly when couriering software and data mag-tapes across continents, customs officials always wanted to know the value of the tapes, not really understanding the value of their contents.

For the record, I gravitate to the term digital asset management. The core of understanding lies in understanding Assets themselves. First a little definition.

Assets have three essential characteristics:

  • The probable present benefit involves a capacity, singly or in combination with other assets, in the case of profit oriented enterprises, to contribute directly or indirectly to future net cash flows, and, in the case of not-for-profit organizations, to provide services;
  • The entity can control access to the benefit;
  • The transaction or event giving rise to the entity’s right to, or control of, the benefit has already occurred.

In normal speak, this is an ability to

  • make money or provide services
  • maintain control or access
  • leverage transactions

This seems intuitively complete for our understanding of the things we need to do to digital content regardless of type. Yet how many digital asset management systems have financial interfaces? Furthermore, how many effectively enable their content with the aforementioned characteristics? How many are just plain digital ‘libraries’ or ‘content management’ repositories?

In the financial accounting sense of the term, it is not necessary to be able to legally enforce the asset’s benefit for qualifying a resource as being an asset, provided the entity can control its use by other means.

This raises another interesting encounter with a recent customer. As a very large content creator, they were not so much interested in protecting their content with DRM as their main customers were Service Providers like broadcasters, cable companies and telcos. They distributed their content via the web, in most cases with FTP, and fully expected their business partner to abide by contractual usage provisions. In fact, if the content were ‘over-utilized’, then in a sense, that is fine by my customer – more exposure. However, their prime concern was ‘editing’ of the content, i.e. changing the creative content, or the storyline, or the brand. As long as the content was edited in compliance with regulations that was OK, but if it was edited to allow more commercial content, then that was not OK.

By extension, media asset management expands my definition of digital asset management, to include the tracking of physical copies of the content i.e. tapes, CDs, manuscripts etc. Hence the usage of the word media, implying all manifestations of content instantiation.

So, when you use the phrase ‘asset’, it is important to understand that the digital content has a ‘value’, and that this value needs to be wrapped with rights to ensure that the maximum equity is extracted for the minimum liability, financial or otherwise.  Failure to do so, in my mind implies that you are only addressing one part of the business, the technical operations.

Without an appreciation of the valuation of their digital inventory, how is a business ever going to evolve to a new digital business model?

Tell me it isn’t so… I’m listening.

Entry filed under: Media, Technology. Tags: , , , .

the user history repeats itself

2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Pete  |  March 29, 2010 at 8:27 am

    “Yet how many digital asset management systems have financial interfaces?”

    How many? And why not? How and or where does the monetization of the content occur?

    As for the valuation piece, do any of the current IPM products do this well?

    Reply
    • 2. tbugir  |  March 29, 2010 at 8:49 am

      Today, very few have a financial perspective, let alone direct interfaces to financial systems… some users have interfaced their planning/scheduling systems to both financial systems and to their DAM. I suspect that this is because DAMs had their genesis in the technical/operations side of the ‘media’ business. They evolved as a response to storing and managing digital files. Regular file systems and directories structures were simply inadequate to manage the metadata required to automate content workflows, so the genesis of DAM was from a technical (read non-financial) perspective. Many IPM systems also do not focus upon financial evaluations, as their genesis was to ‘protect/track content’. I believe that the time has come to bring these disparate worlds together and create what I call ‘interlocking departmental goals’ i.e. by understanding the relationships between departmental functions within a corporation around an object (say content), you design interfaces that address these relationships (goals) in ways that maximize the overall goals of the larger enterprise.

      Reply

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Trackback this post  |  Subscribe to the comments via RSS Feed


Archives

Feeds

My Tweets

  • #OneDrive support disappointing - over 72hrs and no update. Losing confidence. Is there anybody out there? 2 years ago
  • Interested in Programmatic Trading for TV? lnkd.in/bBWjhfV 2 years ago
  • On CBS this morning, COO of Facebook makes claim that computer science started in the 80's. Revisionist history or am I just getting old? 3 years ago
February 2010
M T W T F S S
« Jan   Mar »
1234567
891011121314
15161718192021
22232425262728

%d bloggers like this: