Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Paul McCartney More Appealing than John Lennon

by Steve Levitt

While on the surface it may seem like an “apples to oranges” comparison, the Q Scores methodology provides the basis for a fair evaluation of living vs. deceased performers. Since both Performer Q and Dead Q use the same methodology including our “Favorites” rating scale, a head-to-head comparison is clearly valid.

Paul McCartney achieved a positive Q Score of 36 in the Summer 2010 Performer Q study of 1,800 performers, while John Lennon’s positive Q Score was 30 in the Fall 2009 Dead Q study of 150 Performers of the Past. It should be noted that this comparison reflects the opinions of adults 50+ over and not the total adult population.

Interestingly, Ringo Starr (23) was much less appealing than McCartney (36), while George Harrison (26) scored only somewhat below Lennon (30). And, on the negative side, Ringo Starr displayed the highest negative Q Score of the four Beatles.

In a before-and-after scenario, George Harrison rated better in death than he did while alive. His positive Q Score rose from 14 to 26 while his negative Q Score dropped from 23 to 12. It can be noted that Michael Jackson also displayed substantially higher positives and much lower negatives after his death.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Can a Brand Achieve High Consumer Approval Without Heavily Advertising on TV?

We believe so and here’s why...

by Steve Levitt

In a recent Q Scores Brand Study targeted to adults*, a “quiet” electronics brand emerged at the top of the heap among a cross section of 175 brands.

Does the name Bose ring a bell?

On the crucial dimension of brand user satisfaction, we found Bose satisfying more than three-quarters (77%) of those consumers who used or bought the brand in the past twelve months, giving it the #1 position! Other brands rating high on user satisfaction Brand Q Scores include: Callaway Golf, Thomas Kinkade, Stihl, Wii, Lawn Boy, M&M’s, Swiss Army, Scrabble and Weber.

Supporting its user satisfaction achievement is Bose’s #1 rating on “High Quality” and “Leader In Their Field”. Bose has carved out an enviable position in the minds and hearts of the U.S. consumer. And, it has done this without major television exposure. Not bad Bose! Not bad at all.

*Q Scores Brand Studies are conducted every Spring and Fall for brand updates and tracking purposes. We provide similar insights for younger consumers in our Brand Q studies targeted to kids and teens, which will be the focus of our next blog about brands.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

How Soon is “Too Soon” for Determining New Show Potential?

Innovative Thinking for the New TV Season

by Henry Schafer

Let’s face it, the networks often have a quick finger for pulling the trigger on new shows – well before viewers have a chance to sample or even form an educated opinion about these shows. Quick cancellations could result from the networks pre-determined business decisions (and thus, out of the viewers’ control), or because of initially low Nielsen ratings that are not necessarily related to the quality of the show. Low ratings can often be misleading due to ineffective scheduling and/or promotional positioning as well as debilitating competitive situations.

All I am saying is: give viewers a chance. Viewers need time to get better acquainted with new shows so that programmers can have a better sense of their potential based on real world viewing conditions. Initial ratings and early measures of positive and negative attitudes don’t necessarily point in the right direction. The real issues in the early stages of the new season focus on the viewers’ willingness or commitment to watch more episodes in the weeks ahead. Now, that’s a really good sign of potential!

And, of course, this potential can vary by type of show and clearly by audience demographics. Let’s take a brief look at the new prime time shows that are making an impression with respect to viewer likeability (Q Scores) and/or commitment to watching future episodes (Emotional Bonding).

  • "Blue Bloods" on CBS appears to be the strongest new show of the season with above average Q Scores and strong viewing commitment among younger and older adults, underscoring its ability to resurrect Friday nights for CBS or even anchor another night down the road.
  • The Defenders”, “Hawaii Five-O” and “Mike & Molly”, also on CBS, evidence potential for success with strong commitment to watch additional episodes, despite having average Q Scores overall. For shows like these, the willingness to watch additional episodes can eventually result in stronger likeability and even stronger emotional bonding.
  • Some new shows like “Nikita” on The CW, generate low ratings but show strong potential for growth (albeit in a narrowly defined network environment). “Nikita” happens to resonate with the under 50 audience, developing into a cost-effective dream for advertisers.
  • Detroit 1-8-7” on ABC (while it may not be generating strong Nielsen ratings in the early rounds of the new season) has developed above average emotional bonding among the 35+ audience. This is a good sign for potential improvement on its current Q Score profile and future audience growth – possibly in a different time period.
  • Outsourced” and “The Event” on NBC seem to be striking a chord with the 50+ audience, possibly indicating a surprise to that network. Again, this could be a good thing as this audience can be as vibrant an advertising target as younger viewers. After all, 50+ is the new 30+ as many marketers are indicating!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Viewers Speak Louder Than Ratings

by Henry Schafer

In a world where TV viewers are in control (thanks to all of the digital and internet devices available to humankind), listening to what viewers have to say is more critical now than ever before. Creatives, programmers, marketers, salespeople—listen up! Find ways to regularly monitor your viewers, as what they have to say will make or break the success of your programs. Internet “buzz” travels fast and furiously, hence, the importance of quantifying and determining its impact on continued program viewership. Make sure you’re set up to monitor all of this via high quality and respected tracking studies...or, you’ll be sorry!

We all like to believe that our instincts and professional judgment is what we get paid for, but isn’t being open-minded and listening to our customers’ reactions part of that assessment? Having studied these viewer/programming dynamics for nearly 35 years, I have witnessed the audience effect (or not) of every technological advancement. Whether you like it or not, and regardless of existing business commitments, viewers speak louder than ratings and listening to that feedback will make you smarter for the decisions ahead. Let me know what you think.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

TV Viewers Have Become Their Own Programmers

New technologies are clearly influencing how, when and where we watch television. The ever-growing variety of media platforms has, in effect, given us many options for tuning into our favorite TV shows. Since we are no longer confined to watching shows when they are scheduled on the broadcast networks, cable networks, or in syndication, we have become our own programmers – able to watch most any show when it’s convenient for us. The basic concept of the Q Score was developed with this kind of thinking years ago, emphasizing that the true driving force of a successful program is its ability to satisfy the viewer and give them a reason to come back (i.e., a program’s inherent appeal) – regardless of time period, lead-in or lead-out.

The new media platforms such as Hulu, YouTube, MySpace, network web sites, and DVRs have literally played into Q Scores' favorite measurement concept, allowing viewers to watch the shows they like without the restrictions of a time period schedule. So, what does this really mean to program schedulers, program developers, commercial time sellers/marketers, and advertisers? The answer: audience size for any one media platform is less important than the magnitude of program likeability and the strength of ongoing commitment to future viewing. That is, programs that index high on viewer satisfaction, connection and devotion will have the best ROI. These programs will hold onto the most important viewers (the franchise audience that tunes in more frequently and watches more of each episode) and offer the most effective advertising environment (delivering viewers who are more attentive and responsive to sales messages).

Here are the key Q Scores measures to monitor in order to make informed decisions about the value of a program’s audience:


· FAVORITE RATING: a measure of the overall fan base (incidence in the total population), representing the most enthusiastic viewers of the program. It is this top box measure of appeal that is used to develop the Positive Q Score.

· POSITIVE Q SCORE: a measure of the program’s inherent appeal as a re-percentage of the top box favorite viewer among those familiar with the program.

· NEGATIVE Q SCORE: a measure of the negative reaction among those familiar with the program (unsatisfied viewers who rate the program fair or poor).

· IMPACT Q: a measure that determines the intensity of program satisfaction during the season. IQ enhances the value of the program’s Positive Q Score by factoring in the current viewing frequency advantage forfavorite viewers -- the most loyal viewers. The higher the IQ Score, the stronger the current satisfaction level with the program among favorite viewers.


· EMOTIONAL BONDING SCORES: a measure of the program’s overall ability to hold onto its general viewer base over time – tracking the intensity of devotion to the program among all current viewers. The higher the Emotional Bonding Score on this scale, the stronger the commitment to viewing future episodes among all viewers.

· EMOTIONAL BONDING Q (EBQ): a measure of the program’s ability to hold onto its most loyal viewers. The higher the EBQ, the stronger the commitment to future viewing among the program’s favorite viewers.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Q Scores Data Reveal Some Celebrities May Be More Marketable Dead than Alive

Click on header link (above) to read a recent press release on how Q Scores can help predict the marketability of deceased celebrities by comparing familiarity and likeability Q Scores in life and death.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Has Anyone Considered The Viewers' Emotions In The Conan/Leno Fiasco?

by Henry Schafer

With all of the media coverage given to NBC's fiasco with Conan and Leno, has anyone taken the time to check in with the viewer and their emotions? After all, in the end, isn't viewer satisfaction and devotion to a show critical components for measuring success? The Q Scores company has developed new measures to tap into these important dimensions with our Impact Q Index (core viewer satisfaction) and Emotional Bonding Q Score (commitment to future viewing).

It looks like Conan was beginning to develop strong relationships with the key 18-49 audience, as his show was scoring relatively strong Impact Q and Emotional Bonding levels -- comparable to Letterman. This would seem to be a tough thing to walk away from given the competitive nature of Late Night and, particularly in the face of the audience damage done to Jay Leno via his prime time disaster. Leno's prime time show has received very weak core viewer satisfaction and even weaker viewing commitment -- this will be a very difficult hurdle to overcome.

Conan's Tonight Show was probably going to work in a very positive way for NBC -- too bad it's over. The resourcefulness of Conan and his team should bode well for future endeavors in mainstream and online media, as he is showing the ability to develop meaningful emotional connections with his audience.