A nine-year-old boy named Ryan Kaji has been named as the highest-paid YouTuber of 2020, earning a total of $29.5 million this year.
The Guardian reports that a nine-year-old boy from Texas has been named as the highest-paid YouTuber of 2020. Ryan Kaji has reportedly earned $29.5 million from his YouTube channel “Ryan’s World” as well as a further estimated $200 million from Ryan’s World branded toys and clothing. The nine-year-old has also reportedly signed a deal for his own TV series on Nickelodeon.
Kaji, one of a growing number of “child influencers,” began making YouTube videos in March of 2015 after watching other toy review channels and asking his mother why he was not on YouTube like other children were. His family, who changed their surname from Guan to Ryan’s on-screen username of Kaji, now run nine YouTube channels. The most popular is Ryan’s World with 41.7 million subscribers and 12.2 billion views.
Kaji’s most popular video, Huge Eggs Surprise Toys Challenge, has more than 2 billion views which makes it one of the 60 most-viewed videos ever on YouTube. However, the FTC has reportedly taken an interest in Kaji and his YouTube channel, launching an investigation over allegations that videos’ sponsors were not properly disclosed.
A complaint from the consumer watchdog Truth In Advertising stated: “Nearly 9% of the Ryan ToysReview videos have included at least one paid product recommendation aimed at preschoolers, a group too young to distinguish between a commercial and a review. These advertisements often depict unhealthy foods.”
Benjamin Burroughs, an assistant professor of journalism and media studies at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, warned that there was a growing danger that other children were “being targeted by child influencers in ways that parents may not be cognizant of or aware of.”
Burroughs added: “As a child influencer, [Ryan] is being courted by companies to play with the latest toy so that other children can see it. But now, the child influencer himself has become a brand that is then being put into Walmart, and Target, and Amazon as its own force and influence. It’s pretty shocking.”
Forbes recently reported that in total the top 10 biggest-earning YouTube stars took home a total of $211 million. The second-highest-paid YouTuber was Jimmy Donaldson, otherwise known as “Mr. Beast” who became famous for his philanthropic efforts and stunts. Donaldson reportedly earned an estimated $24 million.