Most eight-year-old kids love playing with toys, but there’s one out there who’s turned it into a business that raked in an eye-watering $26 million in 2019 — $4 million more than last year.
According to data released by Forbes this week, American Ryan Kaji is the highest-paid YouTuber for 2019 thanks to a toy-focused channel launched by Ryan and his parents just four years ago.
It began with toy reviews before broadening its content to science experiments, challenges, skits, and music videos. Millions of fans from around the world have been quick to hit the subscribe button, with the Ryan’s World channel (formerly Ryan ToysReview) now reaching more than 23 million followers. His videos regularly get several million views and have been watched in total more than 34 billion times. Yes, billion.
New videos appear on Ryan’s channel pretty much daily, with most running for between 5 and 10 minutes.
Asked in an NBC interview last year why he believed Ryan’s World had become so popular, the young YouTube star said: “I’m entertaining and I’m funny.”
Success on YouTube has led to plenty of other income opportunities for Ryan, with a portion of the $26 million coming from branded toys, clothing, and other goods that fans can find on Amazon or at stores like Target and Walmart. He even has a spinoff show on Nickelodeon, as well as a deal with Hulu to show his content.
Other creators in Forbes’ list of high-earning YouTubers include, in second place, Dude Perfect, described as five friends in their 30s playing sports, performing stunts, and breaking Guinness World Records, which generated around $20 million in 2019, and Anastasia Radzinskaya, a five-year-old Russian girl whose dad creates upbeat, colorful, and highly creative videos of his daughter acting in short skits.
YouTuber PewDiePie places at number seven with $13 million in earnings, though in 2020 his income may slip as he recently said he’ll be taking a break from the platform for an unspecified period of time next year.
Forbes defines a YouTube star as someone whose primary form of digital and media revenue comes from the video-streaming platform. To arrive at its estimations, it uses data from a range of companies to work out income generated from ads, sponsored content, merchandise sales, tours, and more.
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