Media Asset Management in China: a case study at Beijing Television Station
Under the impact of quickly changing social structure and emergence of new technology, the old way of storing data tapes in the vault is no longer efficient in the eyes of most people. Instead, organizations have started sourcing different ways to manage their media assets that are more efficient and less expensive. While literature and theories can fully explain the concept and process of Digital Media Asset Management (DMAM) from various perspectives, there are few case studies examining academic concepts from a practical perspective. In addition, as many of the concepts and theories are developed by Western companies, the management literature is already replete with cases of how Western companies manage their teams in implementing DMAM, yet there is a smattering of literature discussing DMAM from an Asian context. Thus, the study will first look at the structure of DMAM from a Chinese perspective, and then explore the role culture contributes in the implementation of new systems. While this research is a case study, it adopted ethnography’s principal for data collection. The researcher believed by adopting ethnography’s principle for data collection, it would gear the research to be more relevant to research aims. Nine participants holding different job positions at Beijing Television Station (BTV) were selected to participate in an unstructured interview. During the interview, each participant talked about media asset management from the perspective of the job position they held at that time. This method enhanced the quality of the research as the problems and strategies that BTV had encountered is from various viewpoints. However, as employees directly involved in the planning of DMAM failed to participate in the research, it might place some limitations on the research simply because the management team’s opinions were not taken into account. After analysing the results obtained from the participants, the researcher found that there were several motives for BTV to acquire DMAM, including; to ensure BTV has the copyright of the material created by its staff (e.g. director, editor); to decrease the cost of storage material; to increase efficiency in production workflow; and to enable BTV to re-purpose its media assets in order to maximize profit. Since the implementation of DMAM at BTV, many staff have had difficulty using the new system. Their troubles include lack of training and technical support team personnel available for trouble shooting, lack of a consolidated format for its media assets, time-consuming systems impairing productivity, and high maintenance costs. Despite these problems ensuing from BTV’s implementation of DMAM, they seemed to have resulted from such factors as lack of communication within BTV, Chinese national cultural characteristic, and BTV’s organisational structure. Finally, it is hoped that in this research could provide insights of the management of digital assets in a communist state-owned TV station. However, as the selected research participants took no part in the planning and implementation of DMAM at BTV, the researcher had difficulty comparing and contrasting the results from participants as they came from different teams of the media asset management. Therefore, it is suggested that further research can be done on such field if the views from those team who were directly involved in the implementation of DMAM at BTV can be secured, so that empirical and consistent views can be arrived at.