DAM: Building Utility into Media

The Players

When it comes to enterprise-class DAM solutions, vendors like eMotion, Artesia and Bulldog are generally at the top of the list. Companies focusing on video indexing, like Convera, Virage and MediaSite, are just a part of the overall DAM offerings. Although the indexers offer stand-alone products, customers often use them as plug-ins to the larger DAM systems.

Artesia was born two years ago out of a division of Thomson Corp., a Canadian information conglomerate. About six or seven years ago, Thomson saw that it needed a way to help departments manage their media assets, and saw that many other companies could use such a system. The result was TEAMS, an enterprise-class solution with a base price in the $90,000 to $100,000 range. Artesia’s client list includes Stanford University, General Motors, HBO and The FeedRoom.Many clients start out with a solution that supports static content, then slowly integrate audio and video support. "It’s a gradual process, unless they’re a video-focused company," says Chris Schaefer, product marketing manager at Artesia. "As the Internet and streaming take off, there’s a light bulb that goes off as they realize they don’t know how to manage [everything]."

Cynthia Francis, chief marketing officer and vice president of business development at eMotion, also says that many customers start small, within one department, before rolling DAM out across the entire company. Still, Francis says that there’s lots of education to be done to win over customers, although significantly less than in the past. "Some have done their homework, have a budget assigned, and know the players," she says. Sales are going well for eMotion, Francis says, with lots of new business closed this year, especially in the corporate space.

Chris Strachan, chief executive officer of Bulldog, notes that because every customer has different needs, it’s important to have a system that can scale. "Companies don’t want two- or three-year integration projects," he says. What’s a typical time frame for full implementation? Strachan says that a company can buy the application and have it in production in weeks, not months.

Professional services company Andersen has hit on one of the key issues involved in DAM. Aside from tax and management consulting, Andersen provides strategic tech advice through its media and entertainment practice in New York. "A lot of DAM is converting analog to digital, and there are costs associated with those, and many customers want to know if that’s a capital expense," says Mark Piesanen, senior manager at Andersen’s technology media practice.Costs aside, is starting a DAM implementation difficult for companies? "It is and it isn’t," says Piesanen, saying it depends on the size and scope of the customer’s media assets. But, he adds, "Whether or not you make a decision today, eventually you will. There’s a move to digital that is just inexorable and you need to have a long-term strategy."

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