Ryan’s World: The Preteen’s Guide to Getting Rich Off YouTube

Bloomberg Quicktake: Now published this video item, entitled “Ryan’s World: The Preteen’s Guide to Getting Rich Off YouTube” – below is their description.

Ryan Kaji is one of the most popular YouTube creators in the world, with a main channel that’s drawn 29 million subscribers interested in watching the 9-year-old open new toys, exercise, or do crafting projects. For Kaji and his family, that audience has translated into millions of dollars in annual ad revenue, the traditional form of income for YouTube celebrities.

Shion and Loann Kaji, Ryan’s parents, have also struck sponsorship and merchandizing deals with Walmart and Target and signed on for TV shows with Nickelodeon and Amazon. This year, Kaji is adding a footwear line with Skechers. In total, products bearing Kaji’s World branding generated more than $250 million in sales in 2020, according to Chris Williams, whose company PocketWatch Inc. handles the family’s licensing business outside YouTube. The Kajis’ share of those sales represented from 60% to 70% of the $30 million of their annual revenue—making it the first year their licensing business has surpassed their YouTube ad revenue.

For three years running, Kaji has made more than any other YouTuber, according to estimates from Forbes. The Kajis’s operation, which consists of eight separate channels and the corresponding merchandising operations, is serving as a model for others, showing that the most successful YouTube operations see ad revenue as a diminishing proportion of their overall business.

Kaji first appeared on YouTube at age 3 in informal home videos where he unboxed and reviewed toys. Thanks to his onscreen charisma and the inexplicable logic of YouTube, those videos amassed billions of views. Toy unboxing clips, which got their start partly with Kaji, became their own genre on the site.

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