If you have kids or tweens, or friends with kids or tweens, you understand just how much of a sensation YouTube videos have become. I have friends with kids who cannot tear themselves away from YouTube in the way that their parents might have spent entire weekends playing Mortal Kombat on a vintage gaming system in the 1990s. All those eyes on YouTube videos earns the content creators a ton of cash. One of the highest earning YouTube celebrities is a 6-year-old boy who reviews new toys on the YouTube channel Ryan ToysReview. Ryan made $11 million this past year by opening and playing with toys on video.
Think about that. What were you doing when you were 6-years-old? Hoping for your front tooth to fall out so the Tooth Fairy would come? Playing cops and robbers? Surely the tooth fairy didn't bring you $11 million.
Ryan's $11 million was generated from YouTube ad revenue. He has 10 million subscribers to his channel. His videos feature him playing with toys as well as playing games with his family. Those videos have been viewed more than 16 billion times.
Ryan's parents started the YouTube channel in March 2015. It took four months for it to start going viral. The video that started the viral sensation was of Ryan opening what looked like a giant egg filled with toys from the movie Cars. That particular video has more than 800 million views. Another video from April 2016 which shows Ryan running through an inflatable water slide has more than a billion views!
Ryan ToysReview is capitalizing on the cuteness of Ryan, but, according to his parents, they are prepared to shut the channel down the moment Ryan says he's done. And why not? Repeated views of Ryan's videos will continue to earn money for a period of time after they stop making new ones. However, the family does have a backup plan. They started a second YouTube channel called Ryan's Family Review. That one features the daily adventures of the entire family, especially Ryan's younger twin sisters Emma and Kate.