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DVD Insider: You Need DAM, But Worry About DRM

Like beer, lots of content can only be rented By Miles Weston

Acronyms make this industry spin but why would you want a DAM and isnt DRM a good thing?

DAM is really digital asset management.  And contrary to what you might think at first blush, it isnt what someone is trying to sell you, its your assets. As youll see shortly and contrary to what your bank statement shows, your assets are out of control.

DRM is digital rights management.  Boy, that sounds like a good thing?like the Bill of Rights.  Wrong!  It means the person who sent you that content music, TV, movie, whatever wants to own that sucker forever and is working real hard to make certain you pay for it?forever!

Your Assets
So what are all of your digital assets?

*   More than 22.3 million digital cameras were shipped in the U.S. in 2004 and that was up from 16.4 million last year.  Expect the numbers to be even bigger this year because were getting to really like the instant capture-instant look (see figure 1 below).  Many of these now combine still and video capabilities.

Fig. 1

*   The U.S. has finally gotten the camera phone bug which Asia (and Europe) has had for years.  In Japan for the past two years if a cell phone didnt include a camera it didnt sell.  Last year the same held true in Europe.  InfoTrends/CAP Ventures says that the introduction of megapixel handsets will spark tremendous new interest in camphones this year.

*   All of these cameras and camcorders are being used.  Camphones have reached the point where there are a number of bans on their use in some offices and public places.  Last year we took more than 1.75 billion still images worldwide (see figure 2 below) and more than 40,000 hours of video per month.

Fig. 2

*   Audio content?  Theres no accurate count that we know of.  But to hear the RIAA, millions of digital songs are being stored every day.  Lets use the CEAs numbers for MP3 units as a start?about 7 million last year and about 11 million this year.  Assume half of the music is also stored on the PC and uploaded to the player and ?they download (legally or illegally) a song a day.

*   Then you timeshift two TV shows a week to watch when you want to watch them rather than when the networks tell you you want to watch them. And you save one of those shows because you want to collect the entire series. 

Is it any wonder that it feels as though you have to clean your hard drive or constantly buy a bigger and bigger external drive every 4-5 months?  And of course you consistently and faithfully back these irreplaceable files up to external drives, CDs and DVDs. You do back up your files, dont you?

Only 13% of the digital photos are ever printed, which means millions of files sit on hard drives just waiting to go poof! and disappear forever.  People wont back up things like tax records and business files they have on their notebooks and home systems but we really believe digital photos and family videos may get all of us to do more backup.  Photos/videos of births, birthdays, holidays, weddings, divorces are just too important to lose!!

The CEA has surveyed consumers and we have told them resoundingly that we want the product (see figure 3 below). 

Fig. 3

So they do what they do best.  They offer 200- and 400-disc CD carousels.  They offer 3-5 disc DVD players.  They offer terabyte external drives and media servers (see figure 4 below) that are presently known as PCs.

Fig. 4

The big problem is managing all of that content and using it?thats digital asset management.  There are DAM products but those we are most familiar with cost big bucks for enterprise data/document management.  Great if you are Steve Jobs or Bill Gates and have a wall of HD units or a big optical library that grabs the content, plays it and returns it so it can be accessed later.

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Related Keywords:DRM, DAM, digital asset management, digital rights management, digital cameras, photos, backup, DVD players, Miles Weston

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