Thumbnail image for shutterstock_88356145.jpg
DAM's role in the publishing world has changed as the medium has, in response to the demands of the end user and the increased capability new platforms like tablets offer. With these capabilities come new requirements that are changing the way publishers work with their rich media assets.

Traditionally, publishers used Digital Asset Management systems for two main purposes:

  • Image ingestion and selection: Depending on the kind of publication -- for example, daily newspapers or glossy/lifestyle magazines -- a massive amount of images are received via multiple channels. The images need to be selected and processed efficiently in the various stages of the publication process.
  • Archiving: Images and other assets used, as well as PDFs of published pages, should be easily accessible for later (re)usage.

There is a lot more involved with these two tasks, but there are a number of trends that complicate the DAM requirements of today’s users.

New Platforms Demand Richer, Targeted Media

The main aspect is the advent of multi-channel publishing. Especially thanks to the popularity of the iPad and other tablet platforms, publishers are offering many more images, graphics and videos as part of their premium tablet products. In addition, publishers have to serve younger audiences with social media channels such as Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.

All these new digital channels are hungry not only for more and more images and graphics, but also for videos, adding even more requirements to the systems used. On top of that, media assets often need to be available in different formats and resolutions or converted on the fly when placed in print, Web and tablet publications or on social media platforms.

With the increasing importance of regional or even hyper-local content, both images and videos should also be tagged with geo-locations and also persons/objects, enabling new search options such as "show me all images of person XYZ around New York.”

In many cases, publishers used (and still use) separate editorial teams for their print and online publications. With the tablet as the third mainstream channel, it's clear that a multi-channel workflow is required -- and powerful and efficient Digital Asset Management needs to be seamlessly integrated into this workflow.

Multi-Channel Workflow

In the ultimate multi-channel workflow, the content is created, gathered and selected in a channel-independent way. When working on a story, all materials are collected by a team and placed in a “dossier.”

This includes much more than the assets that actually get published -- all of the images taken (only a few of which might actually be published), original video material (of which only seconds or a few minutes are used), original transcripts, interviews, etc. -- all very valuable content that could be re-used and monetized later on.

During the editorial process, the assets in the dossier are rated, worked on, commented and selected for and published to the various channels.

After publishing to digital channels, the meta-information can be enriched with number of views, user ratings, user comments, Facebook likes, retweets, repins and much more.

So magazine, newspaper and corporate publishers no longer aim to just archive a bunch of images and PDFs. When they search in their archive for an image, graphic or video, they also want to understand its full context: the dossier it was part of, the raw materials, that other 5-star image that just didn't make it in the selection, where and when it was published, the rights to use the asset, how the image or video was rated, shared, pinned, etc.

No More Silos for DAM

These new requirements call for a much tighter integration of DAM with both the multi-channel workflow system as well as the various “channel publishing systems” (such as the Web CMS, systems for the distribution of content to multiple mobile devices as well as the various social channels) including analytics.

Experience shows that individual publishing workflows are quite different, and this is true even more so in multi-channel publishing environments. Therefore, the preferred method should be to integrate the DAM and publishing applications most suitable for the individual requirements into the workflow. Clearly, the DAM solution of choice needs to have an open architecture to enable that integration.

Last but not least, the DAM vendor should show a vision to go much broader than the traditional DAM feature-set.

Title image courtesy of qvist (Shutterstock).

Editor's Note: You may also be interested in reading: