By Andy Fry
International media firm Blue Ant Media has joined forced with content creator World of Wonder to unveil Drag Race Universe, a new FAST channel based around the celebrated entertainment series. Initially, the channel is available on VIZIO WatchFree+ in the US, but additional platforms will be announced in the coming months.
The deal represents the expansion of the two companies’ ongoing partnership, which sees Blue Ant Media producing Canada’s Drag Race and Canada’s Drag Race: Canada vs. the World for World of Wonder, in association with Crave in Canada. Commenting on the content available to the new channel, the partners said: “With nine international franchises and a bevy of spin-offs celebrating drag culture, Drag Race Universe brings a constant pipeline of new seasons and drag-related programming.”
President, global channels and media, Blue Ant Media, Jamie Schouela said: “Drag Race Universe offers a curated line-up of international Drag Race hits to US audiences available for the first time on a free streaming channel. Debuting first on VIZIO WatchFree+ is an opportunity to leverage the platform’s exceptional reach and grow excitement for this iconic franchise among devoted fans and new audiences.”
World of Wonder co-founders Fenton Bailey and Randy Barbato added: “Drag Race Universe is an idea whose time has come; with over 400 queens, 24 international versions and counting, this new FAST channel will build on the major success we’ve already had with WOW Presents Plus in the Direct to Consumer space.”
Created by World of Wonder, the Drag Race franchise is has become a worldwide phenomenon, popular around the world in both its original form and as local adaptations. As yet, it’s not clear if the rights scenario international will allow for the channel to be rolled out into new territories – particularly given WoW’s DTC ambitions.
As for Vizio, the exclusive launch of the new channel is something of a coup in the competitive FAST arena. “VIZIO is proud to be the first to bring Drag Race Universe to US audiences,” said Greg Barnard, director of content acquisitions at VIZIO. “It joins Blue Ant Media channels like Love Nature, Total Crime, and Haunt TV on VIZIO WatchFree+ and allows us to expand our diverse entertainment programming.