Another DAM Podcast

Audio about Digital Asset Management

Another DAM Podcast interview with David Lipsey on Digital Asset Management

Here are the questions asked:

  • How are you involved with Digital Asset Management?
  • You are the Conference Chair to Henry Stewart DAM Conferences. How have you seen Digital Asset Management change in the past several years?
  • What advice would you like to give to DAM professionals and people aspiring to become DAM professionals?


Henrik de Gyor: [0:02] This is Another DAM Podcast about Digital Asset
Management. I’m Henrik de Gyor. Today, I’m speaking with David Lipsey. David, how are you?

David Lipsey: [0:11] Good, Henrik. Thanks for asking and thanks for the opportunity to join you.

Henrik: [0:14] David, how are you involved with Digital Asset Management?

David: [0:19] I had the chance to be involved in Digital Asset Management
before the phrase even existed. I was able to become a part of one of the foundational software companies, Artesia Technologies, which grew out of work that I was doing with many other people at its precursor company at Thomson, the publisher. [0:47] We were looking at what now seems like the quaint and carriage trade idea of repurposing editorial assets to go from textbooks or the technical reference materials from Thomson into CDs which could be distributed largely for reference publishing.
Of course, out of this…Let’s call it something…Out of this spaghetti grew the
DNA of the concept of create once and use many. We weren’t able to grab the words “content management.” They had become used for web-facing applications. But we did come up with, in some sort of aggregation and a bit asystematic [1:33] with the phrase “Digital Asset Management.”
[1:37] The first companies I had the chance to with, Henrik, that were involved with this were a company that’s local to you and I, “The Washington Post,” as well as General Motors, one of the largest corporations in the world that
has an extraordinary archive of images and thousands of hours of video that they were looking to put to better work for GM and reduce the cost of finding that material.
[2:01] I’ve continued through my career, back from this early wandering into what was then an uncharted map of, “Let’s become Digital Asset Management,” through several years with Artesia, which was acquisitioned by OpenText. In subsequent roles as an industry principle for media and entertainment for SAP, then with FTI Consulting, also in the media and entertainment practice.
[2:31] My concerns go across the entire spectrum of the content industries,
whether it’s for text or image, for audio, for video, or for other kinds of files
where, again, creating once and using again can bring value to organizations, to companies, to universities, museums, etc.

Henrik: [2:54] You’re the conference chair of Henry Stewart DAM conferences, how have you seen Digital Asset Management change in the past several years?

David: [3:03] It would be interesting to plot this and do word maps or kind of idea clusters. They are fun to reflect on. I think as you and I have talked about, and as you’ve been good about presenting it at Henry Stewart, there are now actually job descriptions about, jobs which are entitled Digital Asset Manager.
[3:29] I think that, in and of itself, indicates how DAM is becoming much more of an enterprise application. I believe there’s a large transition that we’re seeing occurring right now, where we have… There’s some kind of almost sweet irony in that this application, which collapses silos between content types, a PowerPoint, a Word document, an image, a video, an audio file, has been siloed itself into many departmental applications in the businesses or organizations where DAM had been deployed.
[4:09] I think, Henrik, that we’re seeing a recognition that DAM is an enterprise resource application, much the way that payroll is. Payroll could vary if there are exempt or nonexempt employees. Payroll could certainly vary if they’re union or non-union employees, with the complexities of the workflows of that very specialized compensation methodologies that have to be deployed.
[4:36] DAM itself, I think, is moving from something that happened in various departments, which had the original budgets for this, to an enterprise application.
To tie this to your question, I think we’re seeing that in the caliber of Digital
Asset Management installations that many companies are kind enough to share at the Henry Stewart Conferences.
[5:03] For example, we now will have, this year, the third or fourth maturing presentation of the application that goes across Warner Brothers and its allied organizations at Turner and CNN, which supports not only across business lines, across asset types. But now, I don’t know how many millions of assets are managed
in that application. That’s a statement we just simply could not have made
earlier on in several years of Henry Stewart Conferences.
[5:36] I think the fact that there are emerging models for what disposition means and HR policies for hiring. There is a recognition that DAM needs to be a centralized application and that we now see, across lines of business, repositories that number in the millions of assets and are just a part of everyday life indicates some of the maturing of this field.

Henrik: [6:01] That’s true. What advice would you like to give to DAM professionals and people aspiring to become DAM professionals?

David: [6:07] I think attending the conferences that are available is a great idea. I think the chance to understand that we’re only still, in so many ways, at the beginning of this field. Yes, the more mature vendors have been around for a dozen years or so, from the late ‘90s to here we are in late 2010. That the demands on the content and the fundability of content are something that we’re still seeing very early on. [6:43] I was in a meeting last week where I heard one of the large repurposers of content in the sports industry talk about that they currently service 106 separate digital handheld devices. This is October of 2010 when there’s only the iPad and only a nominal amount of Android smartphones.
[7:08] Just imagine, Henrik, a year from now the demand on content. And not only from industries where publishing is both a noun and a verb our friends in the book business or the movie business or TV and magazine publishing. But imagine a year from now that the demand on content from CPG [Consumer Package Goods] companies and from other manufacturers that have marketing initiatives will have exquisite tablet devices that their content can be used on.
[7:39] I’m saying this as a note to encourage them to become involved in the Digital Asset Management space and understanding that it’s a very wide-open field for someone who wants to become a DAM professional.
[7:57] I also think that someone wanting to get involved in digital liquidity within the company that they’re applying for may encounter some resistance in more entrenched departmental behaviors or operations. Nothing unusual. It’s just that the VPs or department managers may have been working with certain workflows for a long time and someone coming into the field, especially someone who is…
[8:31] There’s Schwinn Bicycle involved in iPhone and digital wheels, if you will, is going to be, maybe, much more comfortable than the people that are working for in terms of content sharing, content liquidity, and content repurposing.
[8:50] I guess that would be something that probably both of us would give as a word of caution to someone entering the field, that someone’s comfort with living in the connected world may be encountering a department that’s not as digitally integrated and not as connected within its own organization. Some education, some patience, and some very private eye-rolling may be a good approach to encountering that.
[9:20] Does that make sense?

Henrik: [9:21] Yes, and there’s likely many of those.

David: [9:23] Yeah, I think so. I think it’s one of the things that it’s both exciting.
It can also be very frustrating for…I don’t want to say a generation before.
Newer employees who are used to just lightning-fast content sharing and have not encountered the fact that it took, what was it, 20 years to clear the DVD of the first season of “Saturday Night Live” because of the complexities of the rights situation. [9:57] I think that another one of the challenges is that it makes, with the technology that provides for rapid worldwide ease of access to assets, that the distance rights systems and governance systems have not nearly kept pace with this.
[10:15] Rights clearance and rights permissioning, and, in addition, the pricing models are far from mature about this. We’re sitting here in this conversation on the cusp of “The New York Times” having an interesting transition coming up with paywall with metered access to free content. Magazines, finding a new wealth of opportunity on subscription-based and display advertising-based revenue from tablets that didn’t exist a year ago.

Henrik: [10:51] Like “Wired”…

David: [10:54] Absolutely. We’re only seeing a handful of tablet-based magazines to talk about. It could be easy to come into a job and just assume everything’s been figured out about the economics of digital content and the rights that are “the crazy aunt in the basement,” [laughs] use that phrase or “the crazy uncle in the basement.” [11:22] We have a long ways to go on the econometrics of digital contentment and on the ease with which rights are, at this point, permitted because much more maturity is occurring in the negotiation stage than previously.

Henrik: [11:39] Thank you, David.

David: [11:40] Henrik, it’s always a delight to spend time with you and appreciate your contributions to maturing the field. Look forward to talking to you again.

Henrik: [11:49] For more on Digital Asset Management, log on to Thanks again.

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Author: Henrik de Gyor

Consultant. Podcaster. Writer.

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