What is media asset management?

Media asset management (MAM) is the process of organizing media files such as images, audio, and video for efficient discovery, retrieval, and usage. Media files are challenging to classify and sort because of the nature of the data, but well-cataloged assets support reuse, search, and cost-effective delivery to end users. A MAM system centralizes the storage of rich media content. With it, you have secure access to the tools that you need to edit, process, tag, and distribute image, audio, and video files.

What are the benefits of media asset management?

Collaborating is challenging if media assets are organized in different labeled folders and directories with minimal context. For example, a photo of an organization’s office space might be stored in a folder called Launch campaign because it was taken when the new office was launched. However, if the HR team wants to use the same photo for a recruiting campaign, they can’t it easily. Searching for office space or office photo in the directory doesn’t help if the photo has a default name like img_o693.jpg

MAM supports digital asset organization by creating a software layer above your asset storage layer. It maps underlying image assets to meaningful names and tags. MAM offers the following benefits.


Your files can reside anywhere in your storage layer, either onsite or in cloud-based storage. MAM ensures that they’re all accessible in one place, along with their associated data. It makes your files available instantly in a single portal that you can interact with through an API and a user interface.

This single source of truth in data is efficient not only for human organization but also for machine organization and processing. For example, by setting up permissions for different users and groups, you can share relevant files with the relevant people and applications, protect your IP, and encourage least-privilege permissions

Read about APIs

Read about cloud storage

Easy search

Searching for the right digital media assets is easier when a MAM solution is in place. You can search and segment files the same way that you search for and segment customers by using customer relationship management (CRM) software. You can attach metadata tags to media files so that they’re searchable by upload or publication date, title, themes, people involved, department, and more.

Analysis across digital files

With MAM’s ability to search and segment rich media assets based on their metadata, you can analyze media files across an entire database. For example, in a TV show database, you can determine the percentage of foreign-language shows, the best-rated US-produced shows, the number of episodes of a particular show featuring a particular actor, and so on.

The following image summarizes MAM’s benefits: enriching content, automating operations, augmenting productions, and optimizing content for consumption.

What are the use cases of a media asset management solution?

MAM solutions have historically been used across the media and entertainment industry because of their significant media file cataloging needs. However, now all organizations produce, store, organize, and manipulate media content. MAM is highly useful for content management and production, which makes it an asset for marketing departments, internal training, and other media-rich business functions. For example, you can use MAM to store, tag, and organize:

  • Various versions of ads, campaign materials, and other creative assets
  • Training videos, marketing content, product demos, lectures, and other educational materials
  • Product photos, video demos, and other related media assets for online sales
  • Videos of talks, presentations, and promotional materials
  • Simulations, experiment photos, and documents related to research and development

With MAM, libraries, museums, and archives can digitize, catalog, and distribute their collections to the public or specific audiences. Medical institutions can store and organize medical imagery, videos, and related content. The use cases for MAM are as varied as the assets that it can support.

What are the features of media asset management?

MAM solutions have the following features for enhanced efficiency and usefulness.

Additional file data

With MAM software, you can add your own metadata to files for better organization. For example, consider the task of organizing a library of TV show video files. Each file might come with an associated length, frame rate, and audio channels. However, you need additional data elements such title and date filmed. Without them, you’re forced to watch lengthy manual playbacks to understand the main content and category. Additional data points such as season, episode, director, producer, cast, and guest appearances support broader search use cases. 

Automatic file ingestion

MAM software can automatically ingest all files stored in known storage locations with predetermined media formats (for example, WAV and MP4 audio and video files). It can also automatically detect currently unlisted metadata. For example, if you connected a video processing solution to the MAM, it can automatically process a video file and identify the actors to include in the metadata.


MAM software typically has deep integrations with popular onsite, cloud storage, and processing services, such as Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3) and Amazon Rekognition

Connecting the MAM software with these types of integrations makes it much more powerful than a simple media cataloging solution. You can manipulate the underlying files to make them more useful.

Playback, viewing, and editing

Most MAM solutions offer playback and viewing for video, audio, and images. Some solutions offer deeper in-app editing, such as tools for the video production process.

What is media asset management workflow orchestration?

The biggest benefit of a MAM system is the ability to perform automation tasks and workflow orchestration. Being able to do this across digital files that are typically difficult to manipulate, store, and manage makes life much easier. 

For example, using workflow orchestration, you could build out workflows where:

  • Every new audio file that contains a certain person’s voice is also added to a backup file storage solution
  • Video content that depicts violence or inappropriate language is automatically sorted to require age-verified user access permissions
  • Photos are watermarked before you can distribute media files to external parties

Many MAM systems have built-in workflow orchestration tools, although other solutions simply offer an open API for building your own automations.

Read about workflows

What is the difference between VAM, DAM, and MAM?

Along with MAM, you might also come across the terms video asset management (VAM), video digital asset management (VDAM), and digital asset management (DAM).

VAM systems or VDAM solutions focus specifically on managing video files. The solutions typically include deep integrations with the video production process, such as advanced editing. Many VAM solutions can combine multiple elements and multimedia files, as well as workflows from different third-party vendors.


You can use MAM software to manage video and multimedia files as well as other file types. These are legacy solutions that are typically used in managing the breadth of an organization's brand assets. Many DAM solutions aren’t as advanced as a VAM and MAM system—they might lack deep integrations and workflow management. They might also be restrictive on file size and can’t manage large files. Despite this, the terms DAM system and MAM system are often used interchangeably. 

How can AWS help with your media asset management requirements?

Amazon Web Services (AWS) offers artificial intelligence (AI) services that you can integrate into your MAM or DAM systems for enhanced efficiency. For example:

  • Amazon Rekognition offers pretrained and customizable computer vision (CV) capabilities to extract information and insights from your images and videos
  • Amazon Rekognition Video generates object, scene, activity, celebrity, text, and face analysis metadata so that you can automatically index large archives of video assets and make them easily searchable
  • Amazon Transcribe converts speech to text for audio analysis

With Amazon Rekognition Video, Amazon Transcribe, and end-to-end serverless AWS solutions such as Media2Cloud and Media Insights Engine, you can seamlessly curate, filter, and monetize archives from tape to a MAM system. 

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