A headshot of Voices.com CEO and Co-Founder David Ciccarelli, on a graphic background that includes a graphic image of a report. Platform

CEO Series: Report on the Global Voice Over Market

Tech start-up founders and seasoned business executives know the value of market research.  Good research provides insights that can inform big, strategic decisions.

However, it’s often challenging for entrepreneurs who are embarking on new ventures in industries that are undergoing transformation, to identify who the key players are, track the purchase behavior and ultimately, decide whether the market is big enough to bother tackling.

This was true for us at Voices. As the leader in audio and voice over products and services, we want to illuminate trends and market information that is of interest to our key audiences, whether they are purchasing or providing voice over.

In addition, as I shared recently, we embarked on a quest to raise venture capital. In early meetings with advisors, it became clear that we needed to quantify the opportunity at hand.

Intuitively, the world of voice overs sounds like it would be a massive market. Just think of how many times you hear a pre-recorded voice in any given day. It’s been estimated that on average, people hear as many as 150 recorded voice overs in a 24 hour period.

From public transit systems on your way to work, to phone system recordings, to e-learning platforms and online tutorials on on YouTube, Ehow or Udemy, to finishing up your day with playing mobile games, console games or even sitting back and watching TV shows, wrapped in ads. Voice is omnipresent.

While most of us grasp that the industry is huge, it was a personal challenge to identify exactly how much was being spent on voice over recordings by advertising agency creatives, video producers and marketing-savvy entrepreneurs everywhere. That number, known as the “total addressable market,” is what we sought to discover.

Developing Our Approach To Market Research

The approach to discover the total addressable market was to leverage our in-house intellectual property by identifying the categories of work where voice over is used.

In regards to categories, you may immediately think of radio and television commercials, and then consider phone system recordings, however, when you reflect deeper, it becomes evident that there are many more applications where the human voice is used to educate, inform and entertain listeners.

The result of this exercise was the confirmation of twelve main categories of work (animation, audiobooks, business recordings, documentaries, educational, internet video, movie trailers,  podcasting, radio, telephone, television and videogames).

From there, we dug deep, looking for verifiable third-party research on the number of units of work (the voice over job) that are produced annually.

We found helpful resources for our work, which included the Audio Publishers Association’s annual report, which covers how many audiobooks were produced in the last year, and UNESCO, which tracks how many documentaries are produced annually.

Building the Report on the Global Voice Over Market from the Bottom Up

For each category of voice over work, there was a credible organizing body that published the research of the work produced.

At this point, it was an exercise of assigning a value for what the typical job in each category would cost. On this front, there were several inputs to consider, one of which being our internal data, as well as what is known about the average union and non-union rates for voice over work. Having processed 250,000 transactions on Voices, we have firsthand knowledge of what the going rate is for any given job.

To be clear, we don’t set the rates. Voices is an open market, with price discovery driven by the buyers – the clients – and the service providers – the talent and their agents.

Multiplying the number of jobs for each category by the average price per job was the next step. The result of all of this was rock-solid market research, where we can state with confidence that the annual spend on voice overs is $4.4 billion.

Using this Voice Over Market Research

This research was helpful in quantifying the market opportunity for Voices. We’re eager to show voice talent across the industry how much opportunity there is, as well as where the jobs are today and where they will be in the future.

For instance, while the research had originally set out to simply quantify the size of the global voice over market, an encouraging set of other findings also emerged, which point to exciting growth.

For example:

  • North America is setting a trend for explosive growth in the corporate promotional videos, internet videos and e-learning categories.
  • The value of each voice over ‘job’ is increasing faster than the number of jobs – this points to an increase in transcreation: i.e. the translation and localization of one ad campaign so that it may be repurposed in other regions. This means more opportunity for voice actors around the world, and a more cost effective method for producing targeted ads for marketing and advertising professionals.
  • The demand for voice overs in animated videos in North America is increasing.
  • Despite its prominence as an iconic ad platform for voice over, radio only represents less than 1% of opportunities in this industry globally.

On our own front, we look forward to using these research findings to further refine our product and service offerings, so that we can continue to offer our talent and clients the absolute best.

For more interesting facts and data, I invite you to check out the full report on the Voices website.


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