Anyone with a child at home is probably familiar with the YouTube unboxing videos. Fans all over the globe watch with rapt attention as the YouTube host carefully opens a box or package, revealing a new toy or addition to the many popular collectible toy franchises.
Surprisingly, one successful YouTuber began his reign at just three-years-old and now, nine-year-old Ryan Kaji has ranked on Forbes’ list of highest-paid YouTube stars for the past three consecutive years.
Ryan’s World, formerly known as Ryan Toys Review, began when the Kaji family started posting the youngest of the Kaji clan, Ryan, opening a variety of toys. His popularity and relatable personality skyrocketed the channel and made Ryan a media sensation.
How it All Began
In 2015, the then toddler was featured with his mother, father and twin sisters Emma and Kate as Ryan began sharing his opinions and interest in a variety of toys. According to Biography Tree, Ryan was inspired at such a young age by watching other toy review channels and as he began emulating them, his father and mother, Shion and Loann Kaji began taping Ryan’s experience and posting them on YouTube.
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Slowly, instead of the Kaji family filming their trip to the toy store, hundreds of toy companies began sending Ryan their products for his review.
He quickly welcomed a large band of followers with 24 billion views by 2018. With monthly income from his daily YouTube posts paired with a variety of other ventures, Ryan and his family have a net worth of $112 million and growing.
Early on, the channel’s success was attributed to the review made by a kid, for kid viewers and created a relatable relationship between Ryan and his biggest fans.
One Thing Leads to Another
Skyrocketing into millionaire status, Ryan and his family began expanding the highly successful social media empire with the 2019 Nickelodeon show, “Ryan’s Mystery Playdate”, in addition to Roku and Hulu contracts.
Ryan’s World toys was launched at the New York Toy Fair in 2018 and includes his image on packaging. The toy line is produced by Bonkers Toys and Pocket Watch marketing, and sold at more than 2,500 Walmart stores. Not only have toys hit the market but fans can also buy clothing, a series of video games and home products as well.
A post shared by Ryan’s World (@ryansworld)
In fact, the family has licensed Ryan’s name and image to more than 5,000 products in stores today, including toys, action figures, face masks and children décor.
The business reached such success that Ryan’s mother quit her job as a high school teacher to manage the YouTube channel full time, according to Celebrity Net Worth.
How to Become a YouTube Millionaire
Techie Gamers breaks down the pay structure for popular YouTubers. Those living in Australia, Canada, UK and the United States receive $2 to $12 per 1,000 views on their channel. The YouTube host also receives revenue from the ads played on Ryan’s World and other channels.
In just one day, the Kaji channel receives 22 million views which brings in earnings of approximately $150,000 or $55 million annually to the family. As of 2021, the Ryan’s World channel has nearly 30 million subscribers and his videos now receive more than 45 billion views.
He doesn’t do it all by himself though; the family now manages a network of 30 employees under Sunlight Entertainment, helping to produce more content.
The continuing growth doesn’t come without controversy.
The family operates nine YouTube channels to date, including Ryan’s World Japanese and Ryan’s World Chinese, leading critics to accuse the Kaji’s of capitalizing on their young son’s childhood. In their efforts to expand and grow along with Ryan, the family has started participating in the video’s and changing the overall feel of the posts fans originally fell in love with.
Critics have also called attention to the example YouTube stars like Ryan are setting for children at home. For example, the use of advertisements targeted to young children and the perceived waste of food and other products in the experiments and challenges posted.
Rising to the Top
Kaji has surpassed other famous YouTube personalities on the highest-paid list, such as Mr. Beast (Jimmy Donaldson), Dude Perfect and Markiplier (Mark Fischbach).
His superhero alter-ego, Red Titan appeared in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in 2020 according to International Business Times (IBTimes), ultimately confirming his popularity with children across the world.
He continues to collaborate with other YouTube stars and works to expand his channel to include daily challenges and experiences. The more he shares, the more fans seem to fall in love with the grade school student, a “bond” Kaji’s father believes, has been the key to their success.
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Sources: Biography Tree, Celebrity Net Worth, Techie Gamers, International Business Times
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