DAM and MAM: Why they are different

In a previous blog post we attempted to give our readers a map of the video management landscape. The map is filled with acronyms used for different types of solutions covering the whole video management landscape. For most people the map covers more than what they usually come in contact with and we often get a more basic question:

Are DAM and MAM really different things and if so, what's the difference?

First off: Yes, they are definitely different things. They have many things in common: for example the ability to treat media as objects and not files, the ability to store and search metadata about the media object, and the ability to show thumbnails and previews of media.

How they are different: Whereas a DAM system has been built to manage images, a MAM system’s main purpose is to manage and understand video. This includes understanding that video has a duration and as such various parts of the video can be tagged with metadata. . Due to video files being much, much larger than image files a MAM also has more advanced capabilities to place media on different storage classes based on rules for when and how the media will be used.

The transcoding capabilities of a MAM will also be much stronger than those of a DAM. This is to enable conversion between many more video formats as well as to do simple splicing and merging of videos.

Furthermore, a MAM system should make it possible to set up hierarchies of videos, for example to link finished video assets with the raw material it was made from. Note that this is not the same thing as putting videos in collections, which is a common feature on both DAM and MAM systems.

For many use cases the video capabilities of a DAM will be enough, but as content volumes and quality requirements grow most users find that they will need MAM functionality to manage their video assets from production all the way to publication.