Connie Terwilliger – ISDN Voice Talent

October 19, 2011

The Long Tail Keeps Getting Longer

The amount of work in media communications continues to grow. Most of it in the long tail where the dollars are not as high, so in order to build a business and stay in business, you need lots of business. The number of people wanting to jump into the business continues to expand as well. So in order to compete and grab the business, producers need to find those areas where they can produce good quality media at a reasonable price point.

Neil Perry, president of Poptent, formerly with McDonald’s in a number of key positions and a VP of marketing at, just posted an article on MediaPost’s Online Video Insider that showcases an under-videofied (I just made that up to go with the word video-izing that he used) area for media communications producers. Video manuals.

People are producing short how-to videos of course, but with the growing use of smart phones and interactive websites, the need for this kind of content has to be growing. I’d like to hope that the production values for these videos will include well written scripts, great lighting and shooting and a professional quality voice track.

The title of his article is Why Marketers Should Take Ownership Of How-To Videos




  1. I’m not sure I agree that the growth or even available work with regards to the development of dynamic assets is in niche industries. 35% of America owns a smartphone and well over 1/2 of those have a minimum 720p phone. That alone accounts for over 17% of America being a “video producer”. The United States consumes 3 times as much video as the number 2 country, Germany. The YouTube numbers for uploaded video are beyond my comprehension.

    Video is sadly becoming more and more the product of utilization of an appliance. When one looks at the increase of video as it continues to become the media of choice for communications in general, unfortunately we see a decline in the numbers of “professionals” involved in its creation. Much the way that Microsoft Publisher almost destroyed the livelihood of millions of designers some years ago, we are also seeing the DIY trends creeping back in and threatening this same base of designers, who found refuge and a new business model in the internet.

    It is certainly apparent in all forms of video production that the best and the brightest are far and few between. When one looks at this growth and professionalism represented in many cases by union participation, we get the saddest news of all. IATSE hasn’t been able to provide properly for its membership for several years. SAG and AFTRA are backpedaling on contract negotiations and opening up new lower cost terms in a last ditch effort. Several hundred productions that were formerly run through a SAG or AFTRA agreement are now going out at a fraction of the price as non-union work to an overgrown voice-over and on-camera citizenship eager to compete for crumbs.

    The rates for e-learning continue to drop to price points that are quite literally only slightly above minimum wage. Despite the allure of videogames, few talent that choose to market themselves in this arena will ever make more than a few thousand dollars, tops per year.

    Everything about us has changed, perhaps except for the way that we think. Which makes everyone an entertainer and a producer. If it were simply Ed TV, it would be great. The only reason anybody is still getting hired is because people tend to only actually work about 2 hours per day, which they fit in between rounds of Angry Birds and Farmville, along with fguring out how to tweet what they ate for breakfast in less than 140 characters.

    As these times become even more desperate, I suspect that video will continue to be churned by backyard bumpkins who are happy to jump off a building crotch first into something. The concern will be that “good be good enough”.

    How To videos will be just one more way that somebody will get their $39 worth out of their webcams as they slam home some more self-serving misinformation to a public eager to believe they can become brain surgeons by watching a few videos.

    You are much nicer and infinitely more patient than I am Connie. If you figure out a way to make a buck from this, more power to you.

    Comment by J.S. Gilbert — October 19, 2011 @ 4:04 pm

  2. As usual, your post presents a bunch of things to think about. I do not disagree that everything has changed – and the concept of the long tail implies lower dollars and more niched work.- at least that is what it says to me. Perhaps those of us who claim to be working class voice talent will not be able to make a living at it full-time as time passes and more and more of the vision you predict comes true.

    That’s the interesting thing about the future – we really don’t know what will happen. The “good enough” question has been in the forefront of my mind since the camcorder was introduced in the 80’s to our film and video department at General Dynamics. We were still talking about it when I was free-lancing as a producer at SAIC in the late 90’s.

    Comment by connieterwilliger — October 20, 2011 @ 8:04 am

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