Why do Voiceover Rates Vary?
I was recently asked by a client to explain why there is a difference between the price rates for different voiceover jobs so I have attempted here to explain why the industry has different rate standards for different project types:
In the voiceover industry the rates (charges) change depending on the broadcast reach that the voiceover recording is set for and for how long it will be used.
The two terms that are sometimes used are ‘Broadcast Coverage’ and the other is ‘Usage’.
So for example an internet video for your website might only get 100 visits a day … and from those 100 people maybe only 50 will click to watch your promotional video. So in a month that amounts to 3000 visits and 1500 views on your video.
You could be a major brand and regularly produce Youtube videos that go viral through marketing and hit 1,000,000 views regularly. Those again have a hire rate then say a small Mom and Pop company that will get 3000 visits a month max. So this goes back to the issue of what is the expected coverage and exposure that voiceover job will achieve.
Of course there are cases where you get paid close to nothing on a video that might go viral and hit 2 million views but that is usually a rare occurrence.
For Radio, the amount you reach might be 5,000 to 50,000 per day depending on the radio station and how popular it is.
Of course the client might like to air their radio advert on several radio stations in which case the coverage of radio advert grows to double if not triple the original expectancy.
Although radio is one of the oldest mediums out there, it is still very popular and so recording for this is still somewhat costly (though not as costly as for television).
For Television the amount you reach might be from 500,000 up to 10,000,000 people except that now you have satellite television channels that cannot be considered local stations but rather are International and can reach in the hundreds of millions of people.
In western countries they have something called Usage Rights. That means that the recording that I provide them for a television or radio commercial is licensed for a set period of time after which that license expires and for them to use it again they pay a usage fee. This usage fee is in lieu of royalties which some other companies still use, and with royalties an artist gets paid every single time that commercial with his or her voice is broadcast on television. For them Usage fees are cheaper than having to send money every-time they use the recording.
There is another industry standard called “Total Buyout” that means that you purchase the recording and can use it as often as you like without paying a usage fee or royalties. But the total buyout is restricted by medium (tv / radio / web) and usually the buyout fee is considerable so as to make up for all the lost royalties and usage fee that the voiceover artist would have gotten.
With clients from Africa and the Middle East who do not have an industry standard like usage rights and royalties it is preferred to go with the total buyout option since it allows the artist to deal with clients from that region.
That is why we have separate rates for Television / Radio / Internet / Telephone IVR / Audio Tours / Product VO / Corporate Videos because each one has a different reach and usage period.