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The Q Score is a measurement of the familiarity and appeal of a brand, company, celebrity, or television show used in the United States. The higher the Q Score, the more highly regarded the item or person is among the group that is familiar with them. Q Scores and other variants are primarily used by the media, marketing, advertising, and public relations industries.
The Q Score is a metric that determines a "quotient" ("Q") factor through mail and online panelists who make up representative samples of the population. The Q score identifies the familiarity of an athlete, celebrity, licensed property, TV show, or brand and measures the appeal of each among people familiar with each. Other popular synonyms include Q rating, Q factor, or simply Q.
The Q Score was developed in 1963 by Jack Landis and is owned by Marketing Evaluations, Inc, the company he founded in 1964. Q Scores are calculated for the population as a whole as well as by demographic groups such as age, sex, income, marital status, or education level.
Q Score respondents are given the following choices for each person or item being surveyed: A. One of my favorites. B. Very Good C. Good D. Fair E. Poor F. Never heard of.
The score is calculated by dividing the percentage of respondents who answer A by the total percentage of respondents who are familiar with the subject (the sum of A through E) times 100.
Other companies have since created other measures and metrics related to the likability, popularity, and appeal of athletes, celebrities, and brands. Marketing Evaluations claims that the Q Score is more valuable to marketers than other popularity measurements, such as the Nielsen ratings, because Q Scores indicate not only how many people are aware of or watch a TV show but also how those people feel about the TV show. A well-liked television show, for example, may be worth more as a commercial venue to an advertiser than a higher-rated show that people don’t like as much. High emotional bonding with a show means strong viewer involvement and audience attention, which are important indicators for the quality of the show's advertising environment. Viewers who regard the show as a "favorite" have higher awareness of the show's commercial content.
Marketing Evaluations regularly calculates Q Scores in eight categories:
- TVQ rates broadcast television programs
- Cable Q rates cable television programs
- Performer Q rates living celebrities
- Dead Q rates the current popularity of deceased celebrities
- Sports Q rates sports figures
- Cartoon Q rates cartoon characters, video games, toys and similar products
- Brand Attachment Q rates brand and company names
- Kids Product Q rates children's responses to brand and company names
TVQ and Cable Q Scores are calculated for all regularly scheduled broadcast and cable shows.
Other Q Scores are calculated to order for clients who want to research public perception of a brand or celebrity. For example, in 2000, IBM hired Marketing Evaluations to calculate the Q Score for Deep Blue, the supercomputer that defeated chess Grandmaster Garry Kasparov. Deep Blue’s Q Score was 9, meaning the computer was as familiar and appealing at the time as Carmen Electra, Howard Stern, and Bruce Wayne. In contrast, Albert Einstein’s Q Score at the time was 56, while Larry Ellison and Scott McNealy each received a Q Score of 6.
- "Q rating definition". Merriam-Webster. Retrieved 19 September 2013.
- Finkle, David (June 7, 1992). "TELEVISION; Q-Ratings: The Popularity Contest of the Stars". The New York Times. Retrieved 19 September 2013.
- Bialik, Carl. "The Numbers Behind Modern Star Search". TheWall Street Journal. Retrieved 19 September 2013.
- Dempsey, John. "You like me! You really like me!". Variety. Retrieved 19 September 2013.
- IBM press release discussing Deep Blue’s Q Score
- CNN article on Deep Blue’s ranking