Widen Media Collective Upgraded To Version 7.1

One of our featured DAM vendors, Widen, today announced the new version 7.1 of their Widen Media Collective SaaS DAM solution.  The new features include:

  • Asset level analytics (reporting on per-asset downloads etc)
  • Stylized Collections (branded image galleries derived from favourites/lightboxes/collections etc)
  • Video editing and frame-selection (cropping and custom clips)
  • iOS and Android asset selection and sharing
  • Updated REST API

Widen bosss, Matthew Gonnering, name-checks multiple staff in his PR quote (being called ‘Mike’ or ‘Mark’ sounds like it might be a somewhat confusing experience if you work in Widen’s delivery team).  This quote from Deanna Ballew tells you more about where their focus has been for this release in functional terms:

The two problems we tackled were to give more insight into asset usage and allow easier distribution of assets in a way that holds true to our customers’ brand” [Read More]

As with the NetX release last week, the new functionality looks interesting and will undoubtedly be welcomed by existing Widen customers, but still isn’t necessarily anything completely new.  Each of the features is offered by several other vendors (most of them now, in the case of REST APIs).  This adds further weight to the idea that we are approaching a mature phase of the DAM market and the action now is in system replacement rather than capturing customers who have never had a DAM solution before (of which there must be a rapidly declining number).  This means there are two major axis on which vendors will increasingly compete: usability and price.

To what extent DAM vendors can keep rationalising usability and making their products easy to use while still sufficiently powerful for heavier users (who will be the ones supplying many of the assets) remains to be seen.  Some of the competition from Adobe Experience Manager and similar solutions could eat away at the available business on the asset supply-side.  I am aware of a few enterprises who are making serious use of their DAM solution now with internal graphics/photography studios especially, but it’s still far from even being close to complete domination and nothing like what they were able to achieve with Photoshop in 1990, or even InDesign after 2000 (where there was already an incumbent market leader in the form of Quark Xpress).

I am not able to identify any major functional shift in the DAM market in terms of some new section of functionality that was never provided before (e.g. the changes bought about by the proliferation of online video between 2006 and 2009) but that doesn’t mean they won’t occur.  I don’t think it will be mobile as the obvious use case benefits are still not as compelling as some other sectors where there is a clear need for applications that are available from any location – although some better examples are slowly emerging.  Until there is another step-change in DAM, it seems likely that solutions will draw closer together in terms of what features they offer with vendor differentiation becoming harder to define and possible margin-pressure as the logical conclusion of that trend.

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