Words by: Kevin Keise
First-grader Ryan, of the family-run Ryan ToysReview YouTube channel, just became this year’s highest-paid YouTube star, earning $22 million in the 12 months leading up to June 1, 2018, Forbes estimates.
Yes, you read correctly, $22 million. Ryan’s ToysReview is part of the YouTube trend called unboxing, in which content creators film themselves opening up different products and offering their honest opinion on them. Ryan’s job is easy; he gets to play with toys all day, just as any other toddler would love to do. The only difference is Ryan films it.
Ryan makes short videos opening new toys and playing with them. If he likes the toy, his 17.3 million followers would know by his happy enthusiastic response. His channel generated nearly 26 billion views since he and his parents launched Ryan ToysReview in March 2015.
“Nearly all of his money, or about $21 million, comes from pre-roll advertising on his channels Ryan ToysReview and Ryan’s Family Review,” according to Forbes. “The remaining $1 million comes from sponsored posts.”
What’s also impressive about this 7-year-old, is that YouTube isn’t his only source of income. In October, the family announced that content from Ryan’s channel would be repackaged and distributed on Hulu and Amazon. Also, in August, he launched Ryan’s World, a toy and apparel collection sold exclusively at Walmart. The line, which Ryan heavily promotes on his YouTube channel, features a variety of slimes and putties, Ryan action figures, T-shirts, toy cars and more.
Because Ryan is a minor, 15% of Ryan’s earnings are funneled into what’s called a Coogan account, which is protected until he becomes a legal adult.