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How is Amber Heard’s Q Score calculated? It's been ‘as low as 1’

Bruno Cooke May 24, 2022
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Yesterday, during day 20 of the ongoing defamation case between former spouses Johnny Depp and Amber Heard, questions were raised about both actors’ “Q Scores” – what does it mean to have a “negative Q Score”, and what do we know about Heard’s?

Entertainment industry expert Kathryn Arnold tells Johnny Depp’s lawyer that Amber Heard’s ‘Q Score’ has been as low as 1

Yesterday, both Amber Heard and Johnny Depp’s legal teams questioned expert witness Kathryn Arnold.

Depp’s lawyer asked Arnold if she thought that Amber Heard’s “negative Q Score” could be a reason for her low earnings – Sky News reports.

Ms Arnold replied: “Q Scores change all the time, Amber’s has been as low as one”. 

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Depp’s Q Score has also fluctuated. HITC reported yesterday that, in 2015, he had a recognisability Q Score of 88. Note: recognisability is not the same as popularity, according to the company’s methodology.

Earlier during the case, Depp’s lawyers brought forward Douglas Bania, who had studied his Q Scores over time. Bania said Depp’s “positive Q Score” in 2016 was 35, and that his “negative Q Score” was 11.

How is Amber Heard’s Q Score calculated?

The Q Scores Company generates reports periodically about actors, characters, licensed properties and brand names. For a sample report of a performer’s individual demographic profile, click here.

It generates its reports by polling people about the subjects. For example, it asks respondents if they’ve heard of X performer or Y TV show, and whether they would rate it poor, fair, good, very good, or as one of their favourites.

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Each subject (such as Amber Heard or Johnny Depp) has a positive Q Score and a negative Q Score. 

The Q Scores Company calculates positive scores by dividing positive responses (i.e., “one of my favourites”) by the number of respondents answering, and calculating a percentage. It does negative scores the same way but uses the “poor” result.

Can a Q Score really influence an actor’s career?

The Wrap describes Q Scores as an “industry-wide measurement that ranks celebrities by their popularity”.

A performer’s Q Score gives an idea of how familiar the public is with them, and how popular they are with the general public. That doesn’t mean a high score will result in higher pay. At the same time, a low score doesn’t necessarily mean an actor will find it harder to land roles.

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Nor does Q Score always correlate to success.

In 2015, for example, Morgan Freeman had the highest positive Q Score (44) out of all the actors studied. In other words, nearly half of all the people The Q Scores Company asked about Freeman said he was one of their favourite actors. But he didn’t receive a nomination for an Academy Award that year.

Nor, incidentally, did Depp, with his recognisability score of 88.

The Focus has reached out to The Q Scores Company for information regarding Amber Heard’s current (or most recent) scores.

Johnny Depp is suing Amber Heard for defamation because of an op-ed she published in the Washington Post in 2018. Heard is countersuing Depp. The case is set to continue.

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Bruno is a novelist, amateur screenwriter and journalist with interests in digital media, storytelling, film and politics. He’s lived in France, China, Sri Lanka and the Philippines, but returned to the UK for a degree (and because of the pandemic) in 2020. His articles have appeared in Groundviews, Forge Press and The Friday Poem, and most are readable on Medium or onurbicycle.com.