Untapping the value of archives

Digital Asset Management (DAM) is growing in popularity as companies realise that they can extract a value from their archives

May 2, 2012

Digital Asset Management (DAM) is growing in popularity as companies realise that they can extract a value from their archives – a value that can translate into Rands, cents and profits.

This is according to Ryan Martyn, a director of Cape-based ICT distributor, Syntech SA – and the youngest member in South Africa of Entrepreneurs’ Organisation, a global non-profit organization whose stated mission is to ‘engage leading entrepreneurs to learn and grow’

Martyn said people are increasingly looking to unlock the value of their archives. “People and companies are sitting with massive amounts of archived material – and this material is growing continually. Historical footage cannot be recreated and for that reason holds tremendous value.”
Increasingly companies are realising that these archives, if accessed and farmed correctly, could result in money making opportunities – if they can be found and repackaged.

“The problem is that a lot of this data is either stored on external hard drives, which is an expensive medium to manage – and the data residing on these hard drives is hard to find.”

“Frequently,” said Martyn, “film-makers can’t find the material. This is often because, after a few years, it is often stored in external hard drives – a large array of them. Knowing exactly what is on these hard drives is often a difficult task.”
Martyn also said that external hard drives have a certain live span and “a fair number” are prone to crashing. This naturally results in the loss of information – some of it potentially valuable.
“These days companies are generally using LTO 5 archiving solutions, which are designed to store data for a long time, with minimal risk of corruption. Media Asset Management (MAM) Software is often used in conjunction with LTO5 Archives to index the content and make searchable, easy to manage and integrate into new productions.” For instance, unused or rarer footage of Hitler prior to, and after, the Second World War, could be put together into a new and compelling documentary and could, therefore, carry with it a significant historical and financial value. Herein lies the value of digital asset management.”

Helping the local film industry

Martyn said that his company had recently developed a full colour grading solution for the film and production industry by incorporating the products and applications of various products, including from Apple, Black Magic Design, Netstor and ATTO.

The solution, which can cut design and installation costs by as much as 90%, has already been sold through their reseller network. Syntech SA, he said, wanted to provide the local film and production industry with a turnkey solution that is “more affordable”.

‘Proprietary colour grading solutions can cost millions of Rands, but we can offer a solution – using more accessible equipment – at one-tenth of the cost.”

He said the film and production industry is a key market for Syntech SA, adding that the more affordable solution makes it “easier for local film makers to compete at an international level”.

Commenting further, Martyn said that as people realise the substantial benefits of unlocking the often hidden value that resides in their archives, Media Asset Management (MAM) solutions are becoming increasingly critical – and popular.

“Today’s MAM software allows video to be indexed and allows users, for instance, to search the material in an archive for particular content. The software is able to do a massive search of data to find the exact type of information that is required, this information about the media is known as Metadata”