What Is Asset Management?

Updated: Feb 27, 2023

Illustration of Asset Manager Flowchart

It’s not easy to pin down a definition of asset management, because it means different things to different organizations. The assets for a parcel delivery service, for example, are very different than the assets for a PEG station. Asset management isn’t even a uniform concept among broadcasters!

Before we explore asset management, we need to agree on what is an asset. For PEG stations, an asset is the combination of content media and metadata. If you want to manage your assets, you need both.

Content is the easy part: It’s the digital file (or files) of program material. The last school board meeting you recorded, that B-roll of people playing at the park you’ve used on a couple of promos, or the roll-in from Tuesday’s episode of your morning talk show – it’s all content.

Metadata is information that describes the content. It can take many forms, which is where things start getting confusing. What descriptors are you using (i.e., program air date, series name, guests, topic, etc.), and what are you trying to do with your content once you find it?

Many media organizations, for example, share their news footage with stock footage houses or network affiliates. For them, metadata becomes the roadmap for navigating through thousands of assets to find a particular piece of B-roll, from sharks to forest fires to influential public figures.

As you probably guessed, one of the most important elements of asset management is discoverability. When you start typing in keywords, you want to get back relevant content. An asset manager is only as good as the metadata it receives.

Whether you want your asset manager to find a particular program or automate the moving of content between storage platforms, you need consistency in how your team inputs metadata. For example, if you need to search for episodes of a weekly series for a specific year, but your team failed to include the program air date in the metadata for 15 episodes, your search will be incomplete and you might not the find the episode you need.

For most PEG operations, an asset manager is less about finding B-roll (though that can be an important feature) and more about streamlining operations. From ingest to distribution, the right asset manager can automate routine elements of your workflow. For example, with the right metadata and by defining a few parameters, your system can archive shows automatically, so you don’t have to spend valuable time manually moving assets.

Cablecast has introduced its own free asset management system for PEG broadcasters in Cablecast 7.5. Learn more about the Smart Asset Manager (SAM) here.

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