A voiceover is used in many situations where an actor or actress is not used on the screen. For instance, a voiceover may be used for images or video of products, real estate, or other visuals. The voiceover would then be used to describe or otherwise allude to the subject of the film or video. Voice overs are typically used more in marketing and business videos than in actual films, although educational programming networks such as the Discovery Channel and the History Channel frequently utilize voiceover talent in many programs. Another use of voiceovers is translation of foreign videos.
As an example, this video highlights 12 male voiceovers and this video highlights female voiceovers. But what is better for voiceovers, male or female voices? This has been a long-debated question that doesn't seem to have any definitive answer. In this article, we will take a look at some of the factors that should be examined when deciding to choose between a male or female voice for a voiceover.
Professional Voiceover Talent
There are many voiceover professionals who make a living being the voice behind many marketing videos and films. For more information about professional voice actors, check out Behind the Microphone - Life as a Voice Actor.
How much money can you make as a voiceover professional? Typical annual wages vary between $50,000-80,000, with the top voiceover professionals making over $100,000. It should be noted that this does not include celebrity voiceover income, as some celebrities make over $1 million for a single gig. For example, the infamous voice of Morgan Freeman makes around $5-7 million per narration! There does not appear to be any large disparity in male/female income ratios in the voiceover industry.
Male vs. Female Voiceover Statistics
According to a recent study by Harris Interactive, 48% of the respondents stated that male voices sounded more forceful, while 49% stated that gender made no difference. 46% stated that female voices seemed more soothing, while an equal percentage stated that gender made no difference. 18% stated that female voices are more persuasive, and 18% stated that male voices are more persuasive, while 64% stated that gender makes no difference. On the right, you will find three charts outlining the comprehensive results of the study.
Target demographics play a key part in determining whether a male or female voice should be used. If your product or service is directed at middle-aged women, you may want to use a middle-aged female voice to better identify with the target audience.
Location can play a part in your choice as well, especially if the area has a strong accent or noticeable factor. Using a voice actor or actress that has these same characteristics can also help better identify with the local consumers.
The male voiceover is typically utilized for selling products that are aimed at the male consumer. A male voice is typically used to sell beer and tools, while female voices are typically used for toilet paper, cleaning and laundry commercials. However, the same study referenced above found that two-thirds of respondents believe that gender does not matter when selling items such as cars and computers, while only one-fourth of respondents stated they believe male voices were more productive when selling these items.
Male voices are also typically used for voiceovers to convey a more authoritative message, such as emergency announcements.
A study from The Voice Realm found that 66% of internet video viewers prefer a female voiceover than that of a male. Female voices are viewed as more friendly and trustworthy. Female voices are typically used for a more soothing approach, such as on-hold and IVR systems in order to convey a more relaxed and comfortable atmosphere for the users currently on hold. Company phone systems typically utilize female voices for answering services and other automated services. Female voices are also used for specific products such as feminine products, makeup products, and other products that are directed at a female consumer base. When Apple Siri was first released for the iPhone 4S, it incorporated a female voice. In more recent versions of iOS, Siri users are now able to change the voice to male if desired.
In most cases, if you wish for your voiceover to convey a more forceful message, a male voiceover talent will be more productive. For a more soothing message, a female voiceover talent will be the most productive. Each situation may be different, depending on the type of product or service that is being sold, and the type of message that you wish the voiceover to convey. Always remember to plan your videos before beginning, and that includes the hiring stage!