Management Business Case
management represents the convergence of many trends in
the media industries as they grapple with
the task of converting their content assets, and the processes
for creating them, to digital. is the core asset -- the
jewels -- of every media company. It forms the basis of
their products and services, and it defines their brands.
Over the last
several years, content creation has converted much of its
processes to digital. Now, content-driven businesses
are building infrastructure to manage and distribute content
in digital form, both internally and to their customers.
Various studies have estimated the “velocity” of
conversion to digital infrastructure in terms of media companies’ expenditures
on equipment. The consensus of these studies is that media
companies spent roughly ten times as much on analog or physical
media infrastructure as they did on digital around 1994,
but nowadays, they spend three times as much on digital as
they do on analog.
Content owners are realizing that they have a fiduciary
responsibility to maintain digital content and treat it as
assets, in order to take advantage of every near-term and
long-term distribution opportunity. The plummeting cost of
storage and the increasing ubiquity of client-server network
infrastructure are now making content management particularly
Why should media companies want to manage digital content
in a centrally controlled way? There are many reasons, some
of which are particular to individual content businesses,
but two basic reasons apply across the board: making and
Media companies have discovered multipurposing – using
pieces of content in multiple products and formats – as
a way of extending media brands through new products and
new media. But they are finding multipurposing to be prohibitively
expensive and time-consuming with traditional processes and
production technologies. Content management allows it to
be done much more quickly and cheaply than before.
For example, a major metropolitan newspaper publishes occasional
books that are compilations of repurposed articles and photos
on key subjects of local interest. It took a staff of three
people one month to prepare one such book. The newspaper
estimated that a content management system would reduce the
required labor to 1-2 weeks and one person. This shorter
time horizon also makes certain repurposed products feasible
that were not feasible before. The same newspaper said that
it would garner at least $100k incremental revenue from an
Election Summary, if it were published within two weeks of
the actual election. Without a content management system,
it is not possible for them to produce such a product of
sufficient quality in that timeframe.
As another example, a movie studio created a sequel to an
animated film direct to home video by reusing footage from
the original feature film, which was archived in digital
form. This enabled them to get a product out quickly enough
to capitalize on audience awareness of the original film.
Cost Savings: Process Improvement
Content management is required infrastructure for reengineering
workflow in existing editorial and production processes.
It also enables cost and cycle time reduction by making content
easily to find and accessible from production desktops.
Certain types of book publishing are especially ripe for
process improvement. Book editors can shave weeks off editorial
cycle time by selecting photos and illustrations from a digital
photo archive rather than by either combing through hardcopy
archives (or even hard drives, or cartridge media) or commissioning
The most striking
example of content management's applicability to book publishing
is in custom publishing , or combining
a number of chapters, modules, or other content selections
into bound volumes with very small (possibly single) print
runs. Most current custom publishing processes, usually in
the college textbook field, either produce fast yet poor
quality results or require many staff-months of manual effort.
A content management system would enable custom publishing
processes that produce results almost as good as "by
hand" and do so in hours, not weeks.
The Market for content management Solutions
In general, several primary trends are converging to create
the market for content management:
1. A critical mass of new content at all types of media
companies is being created digitally.
2. Creating digital media products (web, DVD, CD-ROM, etc.)
often requires digitizing legacy physical content.
3. Some forms of legacy content, like film and acetate audio
tape, are physically deteriorating. Digitizing such content
is a good way of preserving it indefinitely.
4. Media companies, like other businesses, have built digital
network infrastructure to support general business applications.
5. Cost of storing space-intensive media like images, audio,
and video continues to drop.
Above all, media companies are collectively generating thousands
of terabytes of data per year, and they are coming to one
You have to put it all somewhere.
They are finding that the existing storage places for digital
media -- desktop hard drives, disk cartridges, floppies,
even file servers -- are woefully fragmented and inadequate,
just as PC databases are inadequate for storing corporate
Here are some remarks from large media companies:
in our vault, we have 1000 pieces of film with every
kind of sunset you can imagine. If we could digitize
them, catalog and index them, and make them available
and outisde the organization, they could provide a major
source of reusable content and income for us."
CTO, film studio
'Digital Marketing System' moves digitized marketing
assets over narrow and broadband networks in linear and
interactive forms to PC and TV platforms,
all managed by a database."
Marketing Collateral, large marketing & advertising agency
executive at a major publisher recently pointed out that
his company is really in two businesses -- database management
and distribution. Literally,
everything they own exists with in a database, ready to be customized, packaged,
repackaged and distributed in any form making sense to their customers! They
can deliver customized texts. They can also deliver product in traditional
print form, on CD-ROMs or over a network, such as the
Myron Uretsky, Chairman of IT Dept., New York Univerisity Business School
need to turn the flame way down on back-office support
activities and re-focus our resources on our content,
the heart and soul of our business."
SVP Technology, diversified publishing company
media organizations are developing content management
prototypes or small production systems. An increasing
of true enterprise-wide content management
solutions are also being developed, but many are limited
to niches defined
by the "silo" organizations of most
large media companies (especially the older
(prepress, post-production, custom publishing,
etc.) or by brand, title, imprint, or media
are limited in scope and flexibility, which
leads to the need to implement multiple solutions
to achieve true multipurposing and process
improvement. This, in turn, leads to overblown
cost of deployment
and ownership, exacerbated by lack of interoperability.
An enterprise-wide content management solution needs to
be designed to integrate the complex requirements of a multipurpose,
multi-product organization. A technology architecture that
is structured for scalability and extensibility will emerge
from the field of successful new media ventures and be applied
to large traditional media companies as they move to leverage
their brands online.
At the same time, other types of business are deploying
content management for various uses. The two most important
of these are:
service firms and other so-called “information
publishers,” who need to compete by adding more
value to the basic data that they publish
product copanies who need to manage brand artifacts,
such as logos, product packaging, and advertising collateral.
As an application category, content management has come
into its own as an evolution from various other types of
applications, such as document management, text libraries,
image archives, and others. The first true enterprise-wide
content management adoptions have been at new media businesses
that have started from scratch. For example, C|Net, the family
of web sites and cable television services, had content management
technology developed for them from scratch; that technology
is now available commercially as the StoryServer application
from Vignette Corp.
Nevertheless, various studies have been done that suggest
that content management is an exploding application category.
The most thorough of these studies is one from GISTICS1,
which sized the market (including hardware, software, and
services) in 1996 at $274 Million and estimates growth to
over $3.2 Billion by 2001.
By now, commercial content management solutions numbering
in the dozens have appeared, with prices ranging from the
millions down into the low five figures. Certain large systems
integration firms have built content management practices.
There is every reason to believe that, with the rise of content
management, major media companies will soon be able to leverage
digital content throughout their entire organizations.
This article was adapted from:
Digital media management. Content, vol. 6, no. 2, Fall
1998, pp. 4-8.
Media Management: A White Paper. Sun Microsystems White
Paper, February 1997
How to Calculate
an Asset Management System’s Ability
to Pay for Itself. From GISTICS, Inc., MediAuteur Analyst
Briefing, Spring 1997.