According to Forbes’ recent ranking of the world’s highest-paid YouTube stars, a toy-unboxing channel called Ryan ToysReview has tied for the eighth-highest earning YouTube channel in the world.
Forbes’s rankings suggest, Ryan ToysReview earned over US$11 million in 2017 (over CDN$14 million).
The channel stars six-year-old Ryan, and much like the name of the channel suggests, mostly shows Ryan opening and playing with new toys. Ryan ToysReview, which has over 10 million subscribers, is managed by the boy’s parents, who also film all of the videos.
His parents have declined to share their identities in several interviews over the past few years, though have told outlets like The Verge and HuffPost that what is now an incredibly lucrative business began in 2015 when Ryan asked if he could be on YouTube like “all the other kids.”
According to a 2016 profile of the family from tech website The Verge, the channel began when Ryan was just four years old, and a mere observer of the many toy-review channels on YouTube.
After Ryan asked his parents why he couldn’t also review toys on YouTube, the couple decided to let their son give it a shot. The Verge reports that the first toy Ryan reviewed was a Lego train set.
While the first few videos didn’t get much traction, the channel began to take off after a July, 2015 video went viral.The most-viewed video on the channel shows Ryan fetching giant, plastic eggs from a bouncy castle. Each egg contains a new toy for Ryan to unbox and play with.
The video, entitled “HUGE EGGS SURPRISE TOYS CHALLENGE Inflatable water slide Disney Cars Toys Paw Patrol Spiderman” was filmed in April, 2016 and currently sits at over one billion total views.
Parents said, “Back then we didn’t know you could make money from it.”
The family also said in the interview that the revenue from the channel is being put into a college savings account for Ryan, as well as for his two younger sisters, Emma and Kate.
Also on the list of highest-earning YouTube stars was Canada’s Lilly Singh (iiSuperwomanii), Anthony Padilla and Ian Hecox (Smosh), Jake Paul, Felix KJellberg (PewDiePie), Logan Paul, Mark Fischbach (Markiplier), Dude Perfect, Evan Fong (VanossGaming) and Daniel Middleton (DanTDM).