Are voice talent capable of working in a slow lane?

A post by Steven Lowell, Head of Business Development, about the September 10th Internet slow down actionrealtime casting battle for the net

It seems like everyday there is something or someone challenging the way voice talent wish to work and market. Some never realize how it requires a great deal more research than just following popular online opinion to make a decision about what to do next. It takes looking deeper into the ways large businesses who manage the tools voice talent work with are behaving.

Now voice talent working from home, or any voiceover business with a website that serves as a strong marketing tool for getting work, face a new challenge:

It is time to fight for the net.

Note: Yeah…I just wanted to read perform scripts for a living in 1992, myself, but I know times have changed.

The New Challenge: The End of Net Neutrality
This goes much deeper for voice talent working online, whose concerns today maybe showing in search results higher or getting invited first to jobs. This goes beyond casting website policies of algorithms and rates.

Currently, any voice talent can have a website that will be just as fast as any other big commercial brand capable of streaming and generating content. But what if your website, which you paid for to get work with, was forced to run slower than bigger brands because bigger brands struck deals cable companies to pay for “fast lanes”?

What if your cable company slowed down your favorite sites because bigger companies the FCC gave them authorization to do so?

This would suck for ALL voice talent
It would mean your personal websites, marketing tools, and whatever you have online would operate in a “slow lane”, while bigger brands operate in the “fast lane”.

If you watch the many ways voice talent market, for example with video live streaming, ex: EWABS, VO Buzz Weekly, or the simple process of posting demos online, a slower website would mean less viewers, less demo plays, and an internet that feels “broken”. In a short-attention span, Internet user environment, any form of slow down to a website can be perceived as a “problem with the website” and that will not be true.

Taking these quotes from the Wired article by Etsy CEO, Chad Dickerson:

  • Research from Google and Microsoft shows that delays of milliseconds result in fewer page views and fewer sales in both the short and long term. This is true not just for high-bandwidth services like video, but for any content delivered over the Internet. That means businesses in every industry will suffer under the FCC’s proposal. This is a fight for all of us.”
  • “The FCC proposal threatens any business that relies on the Internet to reach consumers, stream video, process payments, advertise services or products, speak their minds, or do just about anything else. – Chad Dickerson, Etsy CEO”

Myself, from experience in customer service for websites, know exactly how businesses and voice talent react at even the slightest slow down of a website. From memory, 7 out of 10 say nothing and never come back, while 3 out of 10 complain loudly, privately and publicly enough for the 7 out of 10 to feel their needs have been spoken for.

But 3 out of 10 isn’t going to cut it this time
I know all too well that changes in technology happen slowly and unassumingly, by boring a person and never making any obvious moves. Being overtaken by change happens slowly, while using favorable words like “fairness”, but truly being the complete opposite.

So I ask, “Please voice talent…Be smarter than they want you to be. Technically, you currently pay your Internet company to sue the US government to possibly slow down your website. It is the tool(s) you work with everyday. It needs to be fair for you.”

What do I mean? For more info, John Oliver explains the controversy (in a humorous yet serious way).

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