What’s a media asset management system?

Amy Burchill
minute read
Written By
Amy Burchill
October 24, 2022

Your content plays a huge part in your business. You might be a marketer creating product videos for a growing ecommerce brand. Or maybe you’re a videographer shooting stories for a news production company.

Whatever content you’re creating, you’re best off storing it in an asset management system.
But the type of system you pick will depend on your workflows and needs. You could either go for a general digital asset management (DAM) tool (like Dash) that lets you manage multiple types of content. Or, you could pick a media asset management (MAM) solution that’s better for managing media lifecycles and editing videos. 

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?

As you might have guessed, you’ll be storing media assets in a MAM. These are multimedia files often used by media and production companies. Here are some examples: 

  • Videos - You might be dealing with massive video files that need to go through a whole pre and post-production process. Alternatively, you might be creating short and snappy product videos for social media. Either way, they belong in a MAM or DAM.
  • Audio files - These could be the finished files for your podcast, or original audio files that need to be edited and added to your video projects. 
  • Animation - These types of media assets could be kept in a DAM or MAM, so consider what you want to do with your animations. Do you need a system that’ll let you edit? Or do you need a place where your finished projects are easily accessible? If it's the latter, consider a digital asset management solution to help you organise your creative files

If you work in a marketing team, you’ll likely be using media assets as well as content like images, GIFs, logos, graphics—the list goes on. These are collectively called digital assets. But, whatever type of assets you’re using you’ll want to keep them somewhere safe and accessible to your teams.  ✨

What’s media asset management?

MAM is a specialised digital asset management system ideal for 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 it with your teams and distribute it 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?

Media asset management and digital asset management are often used synonymously. But they have some key differences.

General digital asset management solutions, like Dash, are built for all types of creative assets. That’s things like photography, website banners, social videos, brand logos and much more. They are used by brands as a single source of truth for all their marketing assets. They can also store multiple file types like PNGs, JPGs and WEBP.

Media asset management platforms, on the other hand, are tailored for the needs of media companies that need to manage the entire media lifecycle. MAMs are also not built for all types of content. Instead, they have specialist features that aid the video production process and can handle the complexities of rich media assets.

What industries use media asset management solutions?

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. Because of its editing capabilities, MAM is likely to be used by video editors and production staff. 

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. It's widely used by marketing folk, design managers, brand and creative teams and sales teams. 

Features of media asset management

Let’s dig into some of the key features of media asset management tools. ✨

Store and search your video content

Searching and storing assets is something both MAM and DAM tools are great at.

Say you’re a media company that films sports events. 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 a big one for anyone working in the media industry—liscensing and copyright. If organisations are purchasing your video assets, you’ll need to make sure rights and licences 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

Once the expiry date is reached, users will be notified and this image will no longer show up in your browse folders.

Collaborate with your team

A good MAM should provide collaborative editing and approval workflows. If you’ve got multiple people working on a project, these features will make your video production process much smoother. You’ll be able to edit video, audio, graphics and EDLs (edit decision lists). Take a look at VSN, a media asset management vendor that goes into this in more detail, including how proxy files are used to make the editing process more efficient.

If you don't need the editing functionality of a MAM, you can use a DAM tool like Dash to set up approval workflows and provide feedback on creative assets. For example, if a freelancer uploads a new video for you to approve, you can leave comments and time stamps to indicate what section of the video you’d like them to edit.


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 £79/$109 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.
We've listed some MAM solutions below to get you started. 

3 media asset management software tools to consider

If you’ve decided that you need to introduce MAM to your MarTech stack, here are some vendors to consider.

VSN - for managing the entire media life cycle

VSN is a MAM solution ideal for news production companies that need support through the entire media content lifecycle. From writing news stories, recording voiceovers and publishing rich media content—VSN is the whole package. Pricing is unclear, so you’ll need to get in contact with the team to find out more.

Vidispine - for audience forecasts and analytics

Vidispine offers a MAM solution that helps broadcasters track viewer ratings and analyse content performance. And it uses algorithms to help you better distribute your commercial ads. It also has video editing software and an integration with Adobe Project Management. Vidispine bases its pricing on daily usage. For example, if you want their cloud-based video editor, it’ll cost you $19 per day.

Curator - for remote editing

Curator for Adobe lets you search and edit RAW media files from anywhere. It’s particularly useful for ingesting metadata, so you can make sure you’ve got all your important video data to hand—super useful for pulling metadata searches. It also lets you edit and collaborate with your teammates remotely. And you can set up permissions to that only certain teams can view certain files. You can fill out a short form on the pricing page to see how much it’ll set you back.

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 and rich multimedia 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 digital asset management software that will support all types of digital files 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.

Amy Burchill

Amy Burchill is the SEO and Content Manager for Dash. She works with ecommerce experts to create articles for DTC brands wanting to improve their campaigns.

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Amy Burchill

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