×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Q Scores Stats Reveal Who’s More Popular: Digital Stars vs. Mainstream Celebs

For more than 50 years, Q Scores has been the industry standard by which the media business has quantified the star power of celebrities, from music to movies. Now, the company is extending its oversight to the new wave of digital influencers.

Shared exclusively with Variety, the data provide unprecedented insight into the impact of this new breed of talent from YouTube and other global platforms, and show how these stars measure up to the traditional personalities Q Scores has been rating since 1963.

In its first publicly disclosed measurement of influencers, Q Scores discovered in the first quarter of this year that compared with, say, TV stars, awareness of the digital talent pool is still quite low, even among U.S. teenagers. But it found that the level of fan engagement around influencers is stronger than that in most sectors of the celebrity universe.

Among teens, the highest Q Scores for digital talent went to a cappella group Pentatonix and 26-year-old comedian Ryan Higa, who both had a positive Q Score of 30. That means 30% of those surveyed who know of Higa count him as one of their favorite personalities. Pentatonix has a slight edge over Higa by a second Q Score measure — familiarity — with 24% of those surveyed saying they were familiar with the singers, as opposed to 23% for the comedian.

While the annual surveys Variety commissioned over the past two years without Q Scores indicated that YouTubers are just as popular as traditional celebrities, Q Scores numbers tell a somewhat different story. Even the highest-scoring of the 32 YouTube stars that Q Scores measures can’t hold a candle to the highest-scoring film, TV, and music stars among respondents in a given demographic. For instance, among teens, as many as 50 celebrities in traditional entertainment sectors have much higher scores than the top YouTubers.

Of the traditional stars measured in this study, the highest rated among the 13- to 17-year-old demo ranged from Tom Hanks, who has a positive Q Score of 46, to Beyonce, with 32.

Measuring by familiarity only, hundreds of personalities who aren’t native to digital have higher scores than Pentatonix, the top digital stars, at 24%, indicating that for all the progress YouTube celebrities have made, they are still very much niche talent.

That said, it’s surprising to see that the top YouTubers are on par with some high-profile traditional celebrities; Pentatonix, for instance, has the same Q Score numbers as recent Oscar winner Brie Larson.

But there’s an even clearer indicator of the marketing bang of this new breed of talent: Looking strictly at positive Q Scores regardless of familiarity demonstrates the incredible level of engagement digital stars have earned in the decade since the sector emerged. YouTube stars as a whole score slightly ahead of many other segments of the talent population measured, including musical performers, news personalities, models, reality TV stars, and chefs.

Naturally, among older demographics, the awareness and favorability levels of digital stars change, and even various YouTubers resonate more with specific age groups.

PewDiePie, for instance, has the highest Q Score among 6- to 12-year olds (40) and 9- to 14-year-olds (38). But that score falls to 15 in the 13- to 24-year-old demographic, where Jenna Marbles and Grace Helbig rank highest. Among total viewers over age 6, Higa, Smosh, and Helbig all tie for first, at 23.

More Digital

  • Jim PackerPRESS PLAY: Variety Home Entertainment

    FilMart: Jim Packer Says Liongate Ready to Support Starz Global Rollout

    A keynote speaker at Hong Kong’s FilMart this week, Jim Packer, Lionsgate’s president of worldwide TV and digital distribution, shares plans to support Starz’ international expansion. And he recounts his experience of watching Netflix change up through the gears. Back in 2012, when Lionsgate was still casting “Orange is the New Black,” Jim Packer, Lionsgate’s [...]

  • Devin Nunes

    Devin Nunes Files $250 Million Defamation Lawsuit Against Twitter

    U.S. Rep. Devin Nunes filed a $250 million defamation lawsuit against Twitter on Monday, alleging that he has been the victim of hundreds of hate-filled tweets. The suit also takes aim at Liz Mair, a Republican communications consultant who has attacked Nunes on Twitter, and the anonymous accounts “Devin Nunes’ Mom” and “Devin Nunes’ Cow.” [...]

  • Reed Hastings Netflix

    Netflix Won't Be Part of Apple's Video Service, CEO Reed Hastings Confirms

    Netflix CEO Reed Hastings confirmed at a press event in Los Angeles Monday that his company won’t be taking part in Apple’s upcoming video service. “Apple is a great company,” Hastings said. However, Netflix wanted to control its experience within its own app, which is why it wasn’t working with Apple. “We have chosen not [...]

  • mark Beaven

    If Spotify Is Holding Town Halls for Songwriters, They Must Be Open (Guest Column)

    Earlier this month, Amazon, Google, SiriusXM and Spotify challenged the Copyright Royalty Board’s decision to increase the compulsory mechanical rates paid to songwriters by 44% over the next five years. The streamers have come under fierce criticism for the move, which they claim is over the complexities of the CRB’s rules but is widely assumed [...]

  • iHeartMedia Promotes Angel Aristone to Executive

    iHeartMedia Promotes Angel Aristone to Executive VP of Communications

    Angel Aristone has been promoted to executive vice president of communications for iHeartMedia, the company announced today. According to the announcement, Aristone will continue to position iHeart as a media and entertainment leader through proactive strategic communication efforts on both a local and national level. She will also continue to oversee media relations and external [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content