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DAM vs. MAM: Definitions and Differences

Carlie Hill avatar

Carlie Hill

Director of Growth Marketing

5 min read

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When it comes to digital asset management vs. media asset management, understanding the definitions and differences is crucial to selecting the appropriate solution for your business. Both systems allow organizations to manage digital assets, but their functionalities and integrations set them apart.

With 60% of marketers creating at least one piece of content every day, it's becoming increasingly challenging for organizations to effectively organize and manage their growing libraries. This problem has caused a variety of solutions to emerge, ranging from simple file repositories to enterprise-level digital libraries. But, with each vendor offering similar-sounding features, it can be difficult to nail-down which solution is right for you.

While we've already covered the major differences between DAM and CMS or a file-sharing platform, it's time to tackle another comparison: digital asset management vs. media asset management.

Since its inception, digital asset management (DAM) and media asset management (MAM) have often been referenced interchangeably. After all, with only a one-word difference between their names, it can be easy to confuse the two. But, while their names, and even definitions, are similar, their functionality is tailored to very different markets.

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To understand the difference between DAM and MAM, a good starting point is to look at the definition of each:

Media Asset Management Definition

ImagenVP defines a media asset management system (MAM) as:

“A single repository for storing and managing video and multi-media files.”

A MAM is used to manage and distribute large-sized media files, typically focusing on time-based assets like videos and audio. It’s most frequently used by the broadcast industry to manage large video clips.

Digital Asset Management Definition

TechTarget defines a digital asset management system as:

“A system for organizing, storing and retrieving rich media and managing digital rights and permissions.”

A DAM is used to organize and distribute media, visuals and content, typically focused on brand and marketing-related assets. It’s usually owned by the marketing team but can be accessed by multiple teams, including sales, product management, communications, and partners.

Let’s take a look at each solution more in-depth!

Digital Asset Management vs. Media Asset Management

Media Asset Management (MAM)

Media asset management originally emerged as a video and audio management solution for the television and movie industry. With production and distribution workflows focused specifically on building long-form (20 minutes or more), time-based content, it's often the solution of choice for organizations dealing primarily with large-sized videos. As MAMs focus primarily on video, they also often have the most comprehensive integrations into the tools that video production teams are already using.

While a MAM provides in-depth management of video, it’s lacking the ability to effectively manage, preview and distribute smaller files, like documents, images and work-in-progress files. This means that, while it’s a great solution for production teams, it’s less viable for marketing and creative teams, who require the wider breadth of management capabilities that a DAM can provide.

Key Features of Media Asset Management

A media asset management solution has a ton of features, but its key features are:

  • Storing and managing large-format video and audio files
  • Workflow management for video creation
  • Providing permission-based access to content

The Bottom Line

A media asset management solution (MAM) is best for teams with a heavy focus on long-form video and audio content, with minimal use of other visuals, like images and design files.

Digital Asset Management (DAM)

A digital asset management system is an integral part of the media content creation process, helping marketing teams organize, collaborate on and distribute their visual media from within one central library. By providing a single-source-of-truth for all the important visual content within an organization, a DAM reduces internal bottlenecks and improves brand consistency across all channels.

With a DAM, users can manage nearly any type of digital file. From within the system, users can perform a variety of functions, including re-sizing & re-formatting their media, tracking usage history and sharing large files easily with external parties. A DAM also provides organizations with increased media security, such as user permissions, compliance regulations and backups.

While a DAM provides great functionality for managing a wide breadth of digital assets, including video, it isn’t tailored to address the needs of the broadcasting industry in the way a MAM is but video capabilities are evolving and enhancing through AI-powered technology.

Fred Rogers Productions have used their MediaValet DAM's audio-visual intelligence (AVI) to achieve incredible results with their huge repository of video! Read more about it here.

Fred Rogers Productions and DAM

Fred Rogers Productions unlocked the untapped potential of 1,150 videos with MediaValet’s AI-powered AVI!

Find out more here!

Key Features of Digital Asset Management

At first glance, a DAM can seem similar to a MAM, but it has some differentiating features:

  • Storing and managing brand and marketing material (photos, videos, etc.)
  • Enriching assets with custom AI-generated metadata, such as keywords
  • Version control and history tracking for all media assets
  • Manipulating assets into other forms, such as file type or size
  • Access permissions for internal and external users
  • Audio-visual intelligence (AVI) to automatically tag, recognize, and transcribe media rich files.

MediaValet AVI Screenshot

The Bottom Line

A DAM is best for companies that need a better way to produce, store, collaborate on, share and distribute large amounts of marketing and creative content (photos, videos, audio, etc.)

Does a DAM sound like a better fit than MAM? Use our self-assessment quiz to analyze your organization’s need for a digital asset management system.

MediaValet is a leader in cloud-based digital asset management that helps organizations manage, organize and share their digital assets, improving productivity and increasing ROI.

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