The Creative Industries Lab of HETFA published a new study under the title of ‘Operation of the Hungarian Dubbing Industry’. The study was commissioned by the SzíDSZ – Szinkron Foundation (Theater Workers’ Union). In Hungary dubbing has an over 80-year-long history, and there is still a continuous and large demand for making dubbed audio-visual contents. In the second half of the 20th century, foreign language movies were released typically in high quality dubbed versions, which reinforced the strong position and demand for dubbed movies even nowadays. The aim of the study was to describe how the Hungarian dubbing industry works, identify the main problems of its employees and offer possible solutions to these problems.

The study focused on the dubbing process of movies, series and other television programs, thus excluding the voice-over of advertisements, computer programs and digital games. The research was based on different qualitative and quantitative methods, and more than 40 interviews and background conversations were conducted with important stakeholders and professionals. Dubbing workers were also included in the research via an online survey, in order to get a closer look on their professional circumstances and their everyday working environment. To know more about the situation of the dubbing studios, the annual financial reports of such companies were also analyzed.

Below we present you the main findings of the research:

  • The size of the dubbing studio market in 2018 was 3.16 billion HUF (approx. 8.7 million EUR) based on official revenue statistics. The three biggest dubbing studios in the market are accounted for 70% of this revenue, while the five largest dubbing studios represent more than 85% of the overall revenues. Therefore, the role of dubbing studios is extremely important in this industry.
  • Studios’ central role is further emphasized by the fact that the infrastructure needed for dubbing is created and owned by these companies. They organize the work of dubbing workers and they are those who are in contact with potential clients (mainly film studios, distributors and broadcasting companies). At the individual level, incomes often do not reflect the level of expertise, experience and the invested energy of dubbing workers.
  • Many actors reported that the price of dubbing has hardly changed over the past decade. This constitutes the biggest problem in the industry as it is difficult for actors to create the appropriate and necessary market conditions for high quality work and profitability.This is highly relevant at the level of the average dubbing workers whose situation is mostly dependent on the clients’ needs and interests. And though dubbing studios are stronger and more established than dubbing workers, clients define earnings and the rules of the game.

The report concluded that dubbing actors and workers have to renegotiate the aspects of working conditions with the dubbing studios. Studios have to ensure the health and social security of their employees, contractual relations should be clarified and improvement is needed in the flow of information between the parties; moreover a minimum criteria concerning quality has to be also secured.

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