Mar 13, 2018
By Katie Lockhart
The strategy behind ‘RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars’ Fantasy League.
For RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars fan Justin Cooter, watching the show every Thursday night isn’t just a ritual, it’s a competition. Cooter has been a fan of VH1’s Drag Race and its All Stars spin off since season one, but this season he’s also tuning in to make sure his final drag queen fantasy league bracket, including Shangela, Trixie Mattel, and Kennedy Davenport continues to win.
VH1’s digital team launched RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars Fantasy League in January of this year. To date, the interactive microsite has attracted more than 55,000 players and nearly 1 million cumulative page views, according to internal analytics. The game has become the most popular Viacom network fantasy league, surpassing similar leagues created for MTV’s The Challenge and Are You the One? and LOGOtv’s Finding Prince Charming.
"Second screen challenges encourage fans to be actively involved."
It was designed to encourage fans to tune in to the live show and interact with one another—supporting ratings and engagement with commercials. “Rather than passively viewing a TV show, second screen challenges encourage fans to be actively involved,” says Dean Donaldson, co-founder and director of Kaleidoko, a transformation consultancy. “It’s a way of driving people to watch the live show and drive live TV viewing figures up.”
The site also enables VH1 to engage with fans on social and across devices. While watching TV, more than 60 percent of adults use a desktop or laptop and 50 percent use a smartphone, according to recent research by Nielsen and YuMe, a video ad technology company. Since its season three premiere, All Stars was the top-ranked show across social on Thursdays for all but one week, according to Nielsen’s Social Content Ratings.
The league is part of a larger trend, as linear programming franchises extend into an entertainment ecosystem that includes social and digital activations to deepen engagement. Other examples include efforts like Bravo’s The Real Housewives stickermojis and AMC’s The Walking Dead Encounter augmented reality app as well as third-party apps that provide interactivity or social overlays to enhance the viewing experience.