Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Changing Business Model for Hiring Voice-over?

I’ve just come from the “Meet and Eat” breakfast hosted by my Chamber of Commerce, held each December in the ballroom at the beautiful Delaney House. The program this morning was a round-table discussion about the economy and how it has affected our businesses. At my table were a business consultant, a bank executive, a photographer, two insurance company employees and an online advertising exec. As I listened to each speak about their respective situations, I heard less about negative impact and more about creativity – how their businesses are adjusting and rolling with the punches. It has always struck me how resilient humans are, and how the capacity for hope and optimism seems boundless, even in troubled times.

Something of great interest to me emerged before the discussion got started – the gentleman on my right was marketing director for an insurance company and he told me that they used to hire production companies exclusively when they needed broadcast advertising. Now, to save money, they are doing their own copywriting and hiring vendors themselves, at least for some of their productions.

When I first started in voice-over 4 years ago I targeted ad agencies and production companies in my initial marketing efforts, but also reached out directly to businesses. It became apparent quite quickly that the latter was not a good use of my time because businesses usually hired production companies or ad agencies. I still find this to be true, but my breakfast companion made me sit up and think about the possibility of a changing model. If this became a trend, it would certainly change the way voice-over artists market their services. My guess is that it would not be an overwhelming trend without some decline in quality of the work and that it would probably be limited to larger companies that might have more breadth of talent than a smaller business with a smaller number of employees. I can imagine it being a textbook example of being "penny wise and pound foolish" - you pay less for the work and suffer the consequences. If larger businesses are considering these kinds of changes, however, this could create more opportunity for voice artists who offer copywriting and other production services along with voice-over.

Are other voice-over artists seeing any of this happening? Are you being contacted directly by businesses? Comments welcome!

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