8-year-old Ryan Kaji of YouTube’s Ryan’s World (formerly Ryan ToysReview) is the highest-paid YouTube star in the world, and has built a business empire from reviewing toys — with help from his parents.
Kaji earned an estimated $26 million, according to Forbes, based on pretax figures from June 2018 to June 2019. That’s a jump from the $22 million Kaji earned the previous year. The second biggest earner this year was the group Dude Perfect with $20 million.
Since Kaji started hosting the ToysReview unboxing videos in 2015, it’s grown into a mega-popular brand called Ryan’s World, and its YouTube channel has 23 million subscribers. The channel 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 now has more than 1 billion views.
As the channel began to grow in views and subscribers, Michael Bienstock, chief executive of the influencer-focused wealth-management company Semaphore, reached out and had a conversation with Ryan’s dad about how complicated things would get financially if the channel continued to grow at this pace, Bienstock told Business Insider in a previous interview.
Ryan’s business empire is certainly more complicated now, having grown from toothbrushes to a television show with the help of kids-entertainment company Pocket.Watch.
The company brought the Ryan’s World brand to Colgate, Nickelodeon, Bonkers Toys, Roku, and Walmart, expanding Ryan from YouTube. Now, Ryan’s World merchandise can be found at Target, Walmart, and Amazon. His line has more than 100 toys in it, according to Forbes. On the traditional media front, he has deals with Nickelodeon and Hulu.
For more on the business of Ryan ToysReview, read these interviews on Business Insider Prime:
- Meet the company that turned YouTube’s Ryan ToysReview into a business empire making tens of millions per year: Kerry Tucker, the chief marketing officer at Pocket.Watch, spoke with Business Insider about how the kids-entertainment company takes YouTube stars like Kaji and turns their online brands into lucrative empires.
- Inside the toy business of YouTube star Ryan ToysReview: We spoke with Deborah Stallings Stumm, the senior vice president of sales and marketing at the toy-manufacturing company Bonkers Toys, on what makes a successful partnership between a toy company and an influencer.
- The financial adviser to the world’s top-earning YouTube star shares the tips he gives clients to kick-start their businesses: Michael Bienstock, Semaphore’s chief executive, talked about assisting clients like Ryan of Ryan’s World (and his parents), in growing their careers.