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5 Predictions For Voice Overs In 2013:
e-Learning, Rates, Social Media & More ...

January 2, 2013

By Dan Hurst
Voice Talent

Nope. Not psychic, just practical. There are a few trends developing in our business that may have an impact on yours. You’ve probably noticed a few also. Please feel free to add to this list!

1. E-Learning Will Continue To Grow

This is a no-brainer. As companies figure out the tremendous savings they accrue by training with e-Learning, we’ll continue to see this business grow exponentially.

E-Learning is a large part of my business - English and/or Spanish. The industry is growing so fast that there are countless production companies popping up all over the world.

2. Rates Will Continue To Polarize

Technology is such that anyone with a computer and a microphone can wade into the voice over business.

The start-ups and hobbyists will continue to work for smaller wages simply because they can. Conversely, experienced voice talents who understand how the business works, have great equipment and connections, will continue to grow their businesses.

Along with that, their rates will slightly slide higher for a number of reasons:
  • It’s cheaper in the long run to use good talent that work quickly, accurately, are easy to direct, and don’t need to be micro-managed.
  • Full-time talents are consistent and can easily make seamless revisions.
  • The better paying companies want to work with professionals.
3. More Video and Animation Work

There are a number of reasons for this.

The advertising industry is going through some significant changes. Some of the traditional advertising venues just aren’t as productive as they used to be, not to mention more expensive. As a result, companies are looking for new and innovative ways to tell their stories.

Along with that, and similar to the technology issues that allow almost anyone to venture into the voice over business, there are thousands of creative entrepreneurs looking for ways to carve a niche in the industry.

Expect to see more and more non-traditional projects that will be used for everything from web postings to email.

In addition, more companies and organizations are using in-house production work for on-site marketing and/or training. I came across a very small company that creates a video of every project they do and posts it on their website and YouTube. The lead generation from that effort has been phenomenal for them.

Expect more and more of that.

4. Increased Multiple Language Projects

Many advertisers are realizing the benefits of niche language marketing.

For example, a pocket of ten to twenty thousand language specific buyers could be a gold mine for some businesses. Language and cultural sensitivity are enormous benefits for reaching untapped markets.

5. Erosion of Social Networking ROI

For years we’ve been told that you have to be on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, now Pinterest, and a few networks that have lost their allure.

Businesses spent, and continue to spend, millions of dollars to develop their place in the electronic netherworld of Social Media.

I’ll bet you can’t count on one hand the number of companies that say it’s been worth it. The reason most companies have failed at this is pretty simple. They don’t get it. And they hire people who don’t get it to spend vast amounts of money to not get it.

Save your money. Use these networks for what they are designed to be: a place to connect.

Social media is basically word-of-mouth advertising. Don’t try to make it something it’s not. Can you find work on these networks? Of course you can. But generally it’s because you’ve made a connection and established a relationship with someone who opens a door for you. That takes time. Not money.

So, there you have it. My five predictions for the voice over industry in 2013. Do you agree? Disagree? Have at it!
Dan (Daniel Eduardo) Hurst is an experienced bilingual (English and Spanish) voice talent operating out of the Kansas City area. His business now extends internationally, with clients including Sprint, Hallmark, Walmart, Ford, T39 Telemundo and the Kansas City Royals.


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Comments (7)
Judy Fossum
1/9/2013 at 12:27 PM

Happy New Year and thanks for this great, succinct article. I love your no-nonsense, common sense approach. I especially appreciated your bit about social media. I must admit that, for me, trying to keep up with all of the social media sites has been daunting and overwhelming at times. Thank you for putting this into perspective.

All the best in 2013,
Judy Fossum
Patrick Sweeney
1/6/2013 at 1:52 PM
Excellent article Dan! Very insightful. All the best to you in 2013!
Elizabeth Holmes
1/3/2013 at 1:01 PM
Thank you, so much, for this thoughtful and helpful analysis, Dan!

It's succinct, well-reasoned and practical -- just what we need to focus our efforts toward success in 2013.
Rosi Amador
1/2/2013 at 11:15 PM
De acuerdo, de acuerdo, de acuerdo. Well said, Dan! I too have found tremendous growth in the area of explainer videos for our English and/or Spanish VO's and in some areas of the country there's quite a bit of interest in French/English as well. This is indeed an area of growth to be on top of if you're multilingual, along with eLearning. I have also found there's an increasing demand for our bilingual VO's for PSA's, particularly in the health arena. Happy new year - feliz año nuevo everyone! Wishing you, Dan and everyone who reads this a happy and healthy 2013!

on behalf of Rosi & Brian Amador of Amador Bilingual Voiceovers
1/2/2013 at 5:18 PM
Dan...great article! You have put your finger on some truisms that have had some VO people in a snit, e.g. "anybody & his brother" jumping into the VO biz, thanks to technology. If anything, it's a nuisance, not a 'threat' to experienced professionals. Amen to the E-Learning and Animation explosion. May I add Audiobooks? And foreign language opportunities have always been there, but technology has erased the expensive travel requirements. And, I believe you have nailed the "social media"'s steadily losing steam for business even as we speak. Good analysis!
Marc Scott
1/2/2013 at 4:12 PM
Hi Dan,

Plenty of great insights in your post, and I agree with everything you've said.

I found in 2012 that more and more of my business came from two things, e-Learning and explainer videos for the web. I expect that I'll continue to see this trend continue for 2013. Particularly explainer videos, as they're relatively simple for people to create and can easily be shared.

Joel Richards
1/2/2013 at 10:04 AM
I agree 100%. I rarely read a set of predictions that I think is so dead on the money. I think the polarizing of the field will make it hard for people like me who are full-time with a burgeoning client base but aren't super-well connected. However, I think it will be increasingly harder for new talent to "rise through the ranks" because of the jump in pricing and expectations.

I would also add that long-tail audiobooks will be an increasing market (at least for 2013 then it may start to flatten out). Audible especially has an interest in beefing up its library with cheap to produce, less-than-best sellers. I still believe in ACX but I'm starting to have misgivings about some of the productions companies that have cropped up around it.
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