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The Race to Smarter Media Management - Who Comes Out on Top?

When it comes to efficient media management, freemium technology options aren’t always the smartest option. Here’s how to pick the best.

By: Lydia Bird

A free MAM alternative such as Dropbox or YouTube might seem attractive at first. There are no upfront costs, nothing to bother the finance department with, and media assets can often be managed entirely in the cloud, lessening the load on IT departments.

But, hold your horses. There are a host of twists and turns to managing enterprise media assets via freemium products and services, many of which can be hard to reverse once committed to. Here, and in the accompanying infographic, we take a look at some of the compelling arguments for why the freemium model for media asset management simply won’t cut it.

5 Steps to Mastering Content Management and Discovery

Controlling your media online can significantly reduce the time it takes to manage your assets and the subsequent costs involved in doing so.

Ingesting Content

A particularly good example is permanent storage of media in its original format. This is something that can range from nice-to-have to essential, depending on the type of content and the business vertical. Neither Vimeo or YouTube offer this feature, for example. And while Google Drive and Dropbox will perform this storage task, there is a danger of over-writing the original content, as well as the issue of scaling.

Both Google Drive and Dropbox also begin to apply small charges once storage limits are breached. Google charges a small fee over 15GB and under 100GB, while Dropbox begins to require subscription over 2GB.

Another potential requirement for media firms in particular is being able to record or ingest content from live feeds, a feature that is not always available in freemium solutions. Google Drive and Dropbox do not offer this level of sophistication.

FTP Solution Comparison

Freemium and some file-sharing solutions struggle when it comes to managing media.

Managing Content

Imagen’s configurable and customisable customer portal is a valuable asset for clients of all shapes and sizes. It allows brands with highly-established branding guidelines and values to immediately apply their own look and feel to their content portal.

In addition, due to a variety of off-the-shelf skins and designs, brands that place less of a priority on design can get up and running immediately, without losing the ability to refine their offering at a later date. However, this is far from an industry-wide constant and the likes of YouTube and Vimeo don’t offer similar functionality.

While these popular ‘freemium’ video offerings offer powerful discovery journeys to consumers and even enterprise viewers, managing content is less impressive. For example, neither video sharing service offers timecode-based metadata logging or search tools, something that is particularly important when managing video at scale.

Handling live broadcast of events is much more of a strength for the likes of YouTube and Vimeo, but a key weakness for other platforms like Box. This situation is inverted if maintaining enterprise-style granular permissions is required. While Imagen manages user permissions natively, YouTube and Vimeo have no such provision.


While YouTube and Vimeo might be free and readily accessible, there are core disadvantages, such as an inability to deliver original master files or indeed any custom professional formats. Additionally, on demand transcode to customer-predefined codecs is not possible on these more consumer-facing platforms, something that Imagen offers as a matter of course.

Overall, the reality is that media asset management can be achieved in many ways, but only a comprehensive MAM solution such as Imagen covers off all the nuances that an enterprise system needs. Attempting to cobble together several freemium services to achieve the same functionality might be possible in theory, but that exacts a heavy time penalty, as well as opening up a host of ever-widening problems.

Download the Infographic

If you manage your media library by hosting videos on YouTube or sharing by FTP, the technology can only take you so far. See how freemium services fare in the media management Grand Prix in our infographic.

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