Straight off the back of All Stars season 4, the much-awaited season 11 of RuPaul’s Drag Race starts on VH1 in the U.S. on February 28. While the season 10 finale of Drag Race was watched by a record-breaking 527K viewers, Drag Race content on social video is pulling in millions of views. In fact, in the last 12 months, official content around the precedent-setting reality show and its contestants has generated 151.1M views on YouTube and 47.5M views on Facebook.
After years under the mainstream radar, the show’s fierce fanbase has pushed Drag Race to the forefront of pop culture. Lead judge RuPaul Charles, as well as the 126 contestants who have participated in seasons 1 to 11 are now fully-fledged social media stars in their own right. Media and entertainment publishers are also uploading content around the queens and the Emmy Award-winning show to capitalize on public demand for Drag Race news and content.
RuPaul’s Drag Race: Spilling the Tea via Social Video
Drag has always been a vitally-important, if not always acknowledged, influence on popular culture. RuPaul’s Drag Race was one of the first entertainment reality shows created exclusively around drag queens with each episode featuring fashion or artistic challenges, themed catwalks, and lip sync battle royales. Contestants compete to become “America’s Next Drag Superstar,” a title that carries a $100,000 cash prize and unparalleled media exposure.
Such is the popularity of the show, officially-uploaded social video content is serving as a marketing powerhouse. In the last 12 months, official Drag Race content uploaded to YouTube has generated 73.1M views, and 47.5M views on Facebook from properties owned by Viacom (which just earned a Tubular Award for being the 10th most-watched global media property in the world!), and operated by VHI, RuPaul’s Drag Race, and Logo.
The first 8 seasons of the show were aired on Logo, a channel devoted to programming for LGBTQ+ audiences, before moving to VHI in 2017. Both cable channels are owned by Viacom, and their digital properties show clips from broadcast footage plus compilation videos and spotlights on different queens
The most-watched official upload to Facebook in the last 365 days is the “Best of Vanessa Vanjie Mateo” with 2.8M views. Miss Vanjie was knocked out in season ten but immediately became a firm fan favorite and is returning for a second chance on season 11:
Official clips from the show are published to the digital properties of Viacom owned VH1 and Logo, but the production studio behind the show is also incredibly active when it comes to promoting Drag Race content. In the last 12 months, WoWPresents, which launched the show on Logo back in February 2009, has uploaded 520 videos to YouTube generating 78M views and 2.5M engagements. The most-watched clip features Drag Race legends Trixie Mattel and Katya Zamolodchikova spilling the tea on a variety of subjects. The YouTube upload has generated 1.6M views to date:
The Most-Viewed Drag Race Videos to Date
Despite its current popularity, Drag Race started small on a niche cable channel. Although RuPaul was a celebrity in his own right back in 2009, nobody could have imagined just how much mainstream attention the show would eventually garner. In the past 10 years, it’s become a global phenomenon with spin-offs in Thailand and soon in the UK, and has a number of primetime Emmys and other awards under its belt.
Media and entertainment publishers are also pulling in huge views on YouTube and Facebook for content around the show, the judges, and the contestants. The top five most-watched videos published by media companies to YouTube in the last 12 months are:
- The Final Four Perform ‘American’ | RuPaul’s Drag Race Season 10 (VH1 – 3.4M)
- Top 10 Cringiest Moments from RuPaul’s Drag Race (MsMojo – 3.1M)
- ‘Category Is…TBT’ ft. Peppermint, Sasha, Trinity & Shea (VH1 – 2.4M)
- Top 10 Craziest Fights on RuPaul’s Drag Race (MsMojo – 2.3M)
- Cher: The Unauthorized Rusical ???? | RuPaul’s Drag Race Season 10 (VH1 – 2.0M)
The top five videos published by media companies to Facebook in the last 12 months are:
- Miz Cracker Makeup Transformation (Cosmopolitan – 7.2M)
- Aquaria Makeup Transformation (Part 2) (Cosmo Queens – 5.1M)
- Miz Cracker Drag Queen Makeup Tutorial (INSIDER Presents – 4.8M)
- RuPaul’s Drag Race Cards Against Humanity is here! ???? (The Hook – 4.2M)
- The Best of Vanessa Vanjie Mateo (RuPaul’s Drag Race – 2.8M)
If you love seeing how traditional TV networks use video marketing to drive interest around their shows and properties, check out how NBC continues to nurture its fan base for The Office via social video six years after the show ended!