World of Wonder, the production company behind “RuPaul’s Drag Race,” is strutting onto the subscription-VOD stage.
At launch, the company’s WOW Presents Plus premium streaming service offers more than 150 hours of programming from its library of TV shows, movies and live events, as well as new original series, spanning pop-culture, documentary and LGBTQ programming.
WOW Presents Plus (wow-presents.com) is priced at $3.99 per month or $39.99 per year (after a free 30-day trial subscription). A key feature of the SVOD service, in addition to the exclusive originals, is that it doesn’t include any ads.
“We’re doubling down on digital because we think it’s the future, and we’re doubling down on development — because digital encourages us to spend the money on developing new shows,” said Randy Barbato, co-founder of World of Wonder.
Added Fenton Bailey, the company’s other co-founder, “Our audience is this tribe of outsiders. Since we started 20 years ago, we’ve always tried to provide new platforms to serve that audience. And in today’s political climate, they’re thirstier than ever for this content.”
WOW Presents Plus doesn’t offer episodes of the company’s flagship “RuPaul’s Drag Race.” In the U.S., the show is licensed to Viacom, which aired season 9 on VH1 after prior seasons were on Logo TV.
In the past year, World of Wonder has boosted viewership for its YouTube channel, WOW Presents, after investing in original digital series including the Emmy-nominated “RuPaul’s Drag Race: Untucked”, a behind-the-scenes look at the TV show. The YouTube channel generates around 4 million video views weekly and has more than 830,000 subscribers.
The WOW Presents YouTube channel has served an incubator for the production house, according to Barbato. For example, World of Wonder took the YouTube series “UNHhhh” hosted by “Drag Race” alums Trixie Mattel and Katya Zamolodchikova and turned it into the “The Trixie & Katya Show,” which it sold to Vice Media’s Viceland. The two co-founders are hoping the SVOD service will continue to feed that cycle.
“We’ve been curating our brand since the beginning, and now we’re putting it one place,” said Barbato. “We also want to create more opportunities for people we work with — both in front of and behind the camera.”
Subscribers of WOW Presents Plus will have early access to new content and a best-of compilation from the top shows on the YouTube channel, including “RuPaul’s Drag Race: Untucked,” “Fashion Photo RuView” and “Lemme Pick You Up.”
In addition, WOW Presents Plus will feature documentaries and unscripted series including: “Becoming Chaz,” documenting Chaz Bono’s gender transition; “Died on the Fourth of July,” a film documenting New York City’s East Village in the ’80s and video archivist Nelson Sullivan; “Out of Iraq,” the story of two Iraqi men who met in war-torn Ramadi in 2004 and had to flee or face an honor killing when they fall in love; and unscripted series “Girls Who Like Boys Who Like Boys,” exploring the emotional and social tensions that frame the relationships of four couples.
Exclusive original series on WOW Presents Plus include:
- “Bobbin’ Around With Bob the Drag Queen” (pictured above): Since winning season 8 of “RuPaul’s Drag Race,” Bob the Drag Queen has been traveling the world with her bubbly assistant, Luis. Series follows their adventures, from where to find the spiciest meat in Brazil to how to find the hottest trade in Australia.
- “Marco Marco’s Models”: L.A. designer Marco Marco is known for featuring a wide variety of models, including drag queens, trans men and women, and gender-nonconforming individuals. Each episode follows one of Marco Marco’s models during an underwear photo shoot.
- “Move Your Body with AB Soto”: Gender-fluid Latin dancer and producer AB Soto shares dance moves, including steps to popular RuPaul dance hits like “Call Me Mother” and their infamous “Cha Cha Bitch” collaboration.
- “The Sugarpill Show”: Series follows Sugarpill Cosmetics founder Amy Doan and her team, as they provide makeup tips and tricks and go behind the scenes for the launch of their new products.
- “Detox’s Life Rehab”: Drag queen and lip-sync legend Detox (“RuPaul’s Drag Race” season 6) tackles a variety of topics including toxic relationships, botched plastic surgery, and outrageous hair styles in series inspired by TV magazine shows from the late ’80s.
- “House of Avalon”: Series following four party-throwing gay provocateurs transplanted from their hometown of Little Rock, Ark., to the glitter and glam of Hollywood.
- “Cool Mom with Jinkx Monsoon”: Jinkx (winner of “RuPaul’s Drag Race” season) is on a mission to spend more quality time with her 29-year-old gay son. In the series, the mother-son duo cover such topics as hooking up, internet slang and smoking pot.
- “La Vida de Valentina”: Valentina, winner of Miss Congeniality from “RuPaul’s Drag Race” season 9, shares intimate details about her life — including her first kiss and her fear of driving — told in the style of a telenovela.
WOW Presents Plus is available on Apple iOS and Apple TV devices, Android devices, and Roku streaming players. The SVOD service is powered by Vimeo’s VHX white-label video platform.
Watch the promo trailer for WOW Presents Plus:
Pictured above: “Bobbin’ Around With Bob the Drag Queen”