Another DAM Podcast

Audio about Digital Asset Management

Another DAM Podcast interview with Romney Whitehead on Digital Asset Management

Here are the questions asked:

  • How are you involved with Digital Asset Management?
  • How does a broadcast media organization use Digital Asset Management?
  • You are going to be a graduate of the MADAM program at King’s College of London. Is this Master’s Program preparing you for the working world of Digital Asset Management?
  • What advice would you like to share with DAM Professionals and people aspiring to become DAM Professionals?


Henrik de Gyor: [0:01] This is Another DAM Podcast about Digital Asset
Management. I’m Henrik de Gyor. Today I’m speaking with Romney Whitehead.
Romney, how are you?
Romney Whitehead: [0:10] I’m very well, thank you, and thank you for
inviting me.
Henrik: [0:12] No problem. Romney, how are you involved with Digital Asset
Romney: [0:17] I began in Digital Asset Management about 10 years ago at
BBC Worldwide. Within there, I was working in the magazines division, focused
on brand management and distribution of magazines globally. My team was
involved in uploading of the assets, rights management, metadata management,
and then distribution of the assets within BBC Worldwide itself, and then
globally out to 53 territories to our licensees and syndication partners. [0:48]
Recently, in the last month, in fact, I’ve joined NET-A-PORTER GROUP. That’s
made up of NET-A-PORTER , MR PORTER , and THE OUTNET. They’re an online
luxury fashion retailer. We’re at the stage there where we’re choosing a solution,
at the moment, to manage a very extensive range of assets, from product photography
to video to print and online magazines, and TV outputs as well. Very
interesting times.
Henrik: [1:22] Excellent. How does a broadcast media organization use Digital
Asset Management?
Romney: [1:29] In my experience, probably looking at it in two ways, one from
the comment workflows, and then probably from a preservation point of view.
From the workflow perspective, what a DAM solution offers a media company
is the ability to manage the content from the point that it’s created to the point
where it goes out to the consumer. [1:55] You could have the ingestion of content
immediately into a system. You could have multiple editing suites dealing
with that content. You can then have the input of the photography unit, if they’re
sending out stills or they’re sending out merchandise related to a particular
show or a product. Then moving through the life cycle through to the points
where that content goes out to a third party broadcaster or to a consumer.
[2:23] Then from the preservation point of view, especially from the point of view
of public broadcasting, what DAM offers is the ability to preserve their content
but also go back through their archives, perhaps finding a back catalogue of
content there. Some of it may be in technology which is obsolete if it’s been
produced over a very, very long period of time.
[2:50] If they’ve got a DAM system, then they’ve got the ability to go back and
retrieve that content. Preserve it at the same time, and then offer new outputs
to consumers. And also, historical value, massive historical value, especially for
broadcasters that have been running for 60 or 70 years.
[3:12] I think a DAM solution, in that sense, means that they never need to lose
material ever again. Whereas in the past it’s, obviously, been stored in dusty
cupboards and left to really not be looked after, unfortunately.
Henrik: [3:27] Romney, you were going to be a graduate of the MADAM
Program, if I understand correctly, at King’s College of London. Is this Master’s
program helping you to prepare for the working world of Digital Asset
Romney: [3:40] I have to say I’m keeping my fingers crossed that everything
goes well for September when I finish my dissertation. Working in the world
of DAM for so many years, you could almost have that thought, “What else is
there to learn?” [3:55] But I’m a great believer in that there’s always something to
learn, especially if you’re approaching a subject from a particular point of view. If
you’re in the commercial world or if you’re in preservation or library or cultural or
heritage, there’s always something to learn from another area.
[4:12] Where this course has been very beneficial, I have to say, is I’ve come
from a commercial background. What I’ve learned from it is the best practices
that certain other areas have, areas like archive or societies, are really very, very
useful for the commercial world.
[4:31] Things like having extremely in-depth metadata, something which isn’t just
focused on your business but is actually focused on a larger scale to allow an
interoperability between what you have and what other libraries have, or what
other institutions have. Things like Linked Data for, first of all, the semantic web,
which has been a long time coming but is really starting to accelerate now.
[4:57] Preservation strategies, which in the commercial world, I feel preservation
is a bit of an afterthought. But actually, it can prove hugely valuable because
you may have content which is sitting in your archives, or sitting in your DAM
system. Nobody knows what somebody is going to want in 20 or 30 years’ time.
Henrik: [5:20] True.
Romney: [5:21] Rather than just ignoring it, as I feel some commercial institutions
may well do, because it’s costly to keep all that data and to manage all
that data, there needs to be some kind of preservation strategy there which will
allow that content to be opened up in the future if it needs to be, if somebody
wants it. [5:42] I think during the degree, I’ve been very reassured that with every
class and module that I’ve taken, there really was a direct link with what I did on
a day-to-day basis, and what I do on a day-to-day basis. It’s certainly refreshed
my view of the DAM world, and it’s given me some good ideas to take forward.
[6:02] It’s very nice also to have a recognized qualification within DAM, because
I’ve not really seen something out there. You can have people who’ve worked in
this field for a long time, and I can say to people what I do when they look at me
as though I have two heads.
Henrik: [chuckles] [6:17]
Romney: [6:19] So, it’s nice to be able to say, “Oh, there is this here.” But the
fact that my mother will tease me for being a MADAM, and perhaps I will be at
the end. And that’s perhaps illegal in some countries.
Henrik: [laughs] [6:30]
Romney: [6:32] But I would most certainly recommend the course, and the
college and the staff have been wonderful. I think it’s really opened my eyes, I’d
have to say. It’s been very, very good.
Henrik: [6:43] Excellent. And, just to clarify, we’re speaking of the MADAM
program, which stands for the Master in the Arts of Digital Asset Management
Program at King’s College of London, correct?
Romney: [6:50] Yes. [laughs] That’s great, please.
Henrik: [6:55] Not any other madams, necessarily.
Romney: [6:56] Yes, it doesn’t lead to anything else.
Henrik: [laughs] [6:58] Best of luck with that.
Romney: [7:01] Thank you.
Henrik: [7:02] Let me ask you the last question, of course. What advice would
you like to give to DAM professionals and people aspiring to become DAM
Romney: [7:10] Well, one would hope that current DAM professionals know
what they’re doing, so I would not profess to be so omnipotent to be able to
give advice to them. But I think people who want to get into the field perhaps
don’t understand what it’s about. It’s a great field to be in, because it involves
a massive range of knowledge and lots of challenges as well. [7:34] As a DAM
manager, I think you need to know what every department in the company
that you’re working in is doing, because DAM will touch every department in
some way. Maybe extensively, it may be very small. Because of that, I think
the key part of DAM is not necessarily the technical solution, but the ability to
[7:57] You need to empathize with people. You need to be able to sit down with
an individual and ask them what their pain points are, and understand them. Be
able to reassure them that you know what they’re talking about, and that whatever
solution you’re putting in place is actually going to help them.
[8:15] You have to give people something tangible, because every individual will
use a system differently. So you can’t build a system for one set of users, and
you cannot focus on one set of users, either. You’re not building the system for
just a CEO who wants to save money, or for the clerk who wants to save time in
filing things. You’re building it for everybody in between as well.
[8:38] So, I think the ability to manage people and their expectations, their fear
of change, what their daily stresses are, will make you a good Digital Asset
Manager. The ability to communicate, I think that’s what you need to always
keep in mind, always.
Henrik: [8:53] Excellent. Did you want to share your blog that you have as well?
Romney: [laughs] [8:58] My blog, which I’ve been very remiss at keeping up, but
Henrik: [9:08] Excellent. There’s a link to that on my blog at Thank you so much, Romney.
Romney: [9:15] Thank you very much.
Henrik: [9:16] For more on Digital Asset Management, you can log onto

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