The highest-earning YouTube star in the world is an elementary-school kid who makes millions reviewing toys.
Ryan, the 7-year-old “host” of Ryan ToysReview, a popular toy-review channel on YouTube, jumped from No. 8 to No. 1 on Forbes’ annual list of YouTube stars who are making the most money.
A family-run YouTube channel, Ryan ToysReview generated about $22 million in pretax income from June 1, 2017, through June 1, 2018, according to Forbes, up from $11 million the year prior. The raw estimate of $22 million put Ryan ToysReview just ahead of controversial star Jake Paul (who banked $21.5 million).
In 2016, The Verge profiled the channel and Ryan’s parents, who have shot and produced the account’s frequently (nearly daily) released videos since Ryan ToysReview started in March 2015.
The account began when Ryan, then a 4-year-old fan of toy-review videos, asked his parents why he couldn’t also review toys on YouTube.
Ryan ToysReview started out slowly until a July 2015 video went viral. The video featured Ryan opening and reviewing a box containing more than 100 toys from Pixar’s “Cars” series. It has close to 935 million views.
The channel now tends to review new toys or kids’ food products, and the videos usually feature earnest and enthusiastic commentary from Ryan with off-camera guidance from his parents.
Earlier this year, Ryan struck a deal with Walmart to sell a toy line called “Ryan’s World” exclusively in over 2,500 US stores and Walmart’s website, according to Reuters. Ryan’s World was the first merchandise to be sold after Pocket.Watch, a children’s media brand, negotiated licensing deals for several online video stars.
Ryan ToysReview has 17 million followers and has gotten a combined 26 billion views, according to Forbes.