A nine-year-old boy has made nearly $30m in a year from unboxing and reviewing toys and games on YouTube, to hold the title of highest-paid YouTuber for the third year running.
Ryan Kaji, from Texas, made $29.5m (£22m) from his YouTube channel Ryan’s World, as well as a further estimated $200m from Ryan’s world branded toys and clothing, including Marks & Spencer pyjamas.
He also signed an undisclosed, but likely multimillion-dollar deal for his own TV series on Nickelodeon.
Kaji, who is described as a child influencer, first began making YouTube videos in March 2015 after watching other toy review channels and asking his mother why he was not on YouTube when other kids were.
His family who changed their real surname, Guan, to his on-screen surname, Kaji now runs nine YouTube channels. Ryan’s world was the most popular with 41.7m subscribers and 12.2bn views.
Kaji’s most popular video ‘huge eggs surprise toys challenge’ has more than 2bn views, making it one of the 60 most-viewed videos ever on YouTube.
As a child influencer, Ryan is being courted by companies to play with the latest toy so that other children can see it. But now, the child influencer himself has become a brand that is then being put into Walmart, Target and Amazon as its own force and influence.
In Ryan’s family, they’re able to constantly consume content and products, they open up a new toy every day and subsequently play with that new toy every day, so there’s this constant consumerism that’s being embedded within these messages for children.
In total the top 10 biggest-earning YouTube stars took home a total of $211m, according to the Forbes business magazine, which on Friday, 18 December, published its analysis of their estimated earnings between June 2019 and June 2020.