How a 10-year-old became the king of toys, and YouTube

Ryan’s World has 31m+ subscribers, making the 10-year old one of YouTube’s highest earners.

Many parents struggle to figure out how much time to let their kids spend in front of screens.

How a 10-year-old became the king of toys, and YouTube

Loann and Shion Kaji have the opposite problem — figuring out how much time to let their son spend in front of the camera.

Their 10-year-old, Ryan, is the star of “Ryan’s World,” a toy-centric YouTube empire that earned the family $25m+ in 2020, per The New York Times.

“Ryan’s World” started small

The 1st video features 3-year-old Ryan making his “pick of the week” in the toy aisle at Target (he picked a Lego train).

Worried that buying a new toy every week would get expensive, the Kajis set a weekly production budget of $20. When one of Ryan’s videos went viral, they no longer had to worry about that.

After experiencing explosive growth from his toy review and unboxing videos, both parents eventually quit their jobs to help build Ryan’s brand.

The key to their success?

There’s no shortage of toy videos on YouTube, but the Kajis realized most of them are focused on the toy brand. They differentiated by making Ryan the star of the show — leading to monster growth:

  • The channel now counts 31.3m subscribers
  • “Ryan’s World” branded merchandise brought in $250m in 2020
  • Ryan landed his own Nickelodeon show, “Ryan’s Mystery Playdate”

The next chapter is about expanding beyond Ryan

The Kajis have done so by creating animated characters under the “Ryan’s World” banner. Two examples are “Combo Panda” and “Gus the Gummy Gator,” which have ~2m and ~1.3m YouTube subscribers, respectively.

By offloading hosting duties to cartoons, the Kajis are able to limit Ryan’s time in front of the camera.

If they’re successful enough, they just might have to start limiting his screen time, like any other 10-year-old.

Topics: Streaming Media

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