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April 2012 Media Asset Management

Filling the MAMvoid?

Why the future is bright for affordable MAM systems – even if Apple doesn’t think so. By Parham Azimi, chief executive and co-founder of Cantemo

IT’S PROBABLY fair to say that asset management is not the sexiest part of the media industry. But while it might not get the pulses racing there is no doubt that it is more vital than it has ever been before. The introduction of file-based

production and distribution and the proliferation of different platforms for consuming and viewing media means that having technology that can fit into these ever more complicated workflows and manage the lifecycle of a piece of rich media content is hugely beneficial. As a consequence of these changes, many media businesses have completely altered the way they operate internally and many have done this with a Media Asset Management system at the very core. Of course, broadcasters and other large organisations have been at the forefront of this, not least because traditionally MAM is suited ideally to large- scale operations. But smaller media organisations can benefit from these tools too. This is where something like

Apple’s Final Cut Server (FCSvr) came in. A software product with a familiar look and feel that didn’t cost the earth and allowed for the integration of apps, FCSvr provided smaller organisations with the opportunity to move, manipulate and benefit from their content at every stage of the media cycle from acquisition to distribution. It was, unsurprisingly, well received. However, when Apple decided that FCSvr had “reached end of life” in June 2011 its disappearance left a huge void in the MAM market. At the time it was revealed that architectural changes to the newly developed FCPX meant that multiple editors could no longer access and use assets simultaneously with Final Cut Server. Instead of the per- project media stores that are familiar to the creative industries, FCPX uses a

single media store backed by CoreData. But that wasn’t the end of it. Final Cut Server also relied on the interchange format XML but the schema used by Final Cut Pro 7 and the one used by FCPX are quite different. In short, this meant that FCSvr and FCPX were incompatible. And being

Lessons learned A MAM that can learn from the successes and the failures of FCSvr, a MAM that can adapt to different content creation tools, but can also be agnostic to the tools, the storage systems and operating systems it works alongside. A MAM that can be flexible enough to expand to a

horizontal approach is the only way to do this, not least because media creation is happening in many industries today, not just in the traditional broadcast and post production arenas. My company founded its

entire business and market approach on these beliefs. We believe in open-ended software

I’m not just saying this because I have a vested interest, I am saying it because I believe it and, more importantly, because it’s based on what partners and customers are experiencing

incompatible with the world’s most used nonlinear editor was not a recipe for MAM success. So it was laid to rest. But Apple’s loss could be someone else’s gain. It leaves space for a new type of MAM.

company’s needs as it grows. And a MAM that allows a business to completely change their working practices within the space of a week without any disruption. I firmly believe that a MAM that takes an open and

that can be re-skinned and re-shaped by systems integrators and third parties. We believe in partnering with other like- minded developers who have specialist skills that complement ours, such as Vidispine. And we

TVBEurope 35

Parham Azimi: “But Apple’s loss could be someone else’s gain. It leaves space for a new type of MAM”

believe in continuing the trend of allowing for professional app development, something that made FCSvr so popular. I’m not just saying this because I have a vested interest, I am saying it because I believe it and, more importantly, because it’s based on what partners and customers are experiencing. Including the ones that were a little miffed when FCSvr was given the chop. With these values, between

ourselves and the eco-system of media solution experts that we have established on the back of FCSvr’s demise, we believe we can provide media customers with MAM technology that is tailored for their specific media needs today and grow with them in the future. And we promise not to cease development without warning. The key thing to remember is this: just because it doesn’t work for Apple, doesn’t mean to say it doesn’t work.


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