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EMAILED ON December 4, 2018 BY Wes Schlagenhauf

This year’s top earning YouTuber is a 7-year-old child

A 7-year-old toy reviewer is officially YouTube’s highest-earner of 2018 (YoY from June 1, 2017). And no, this is NOT a headline from the Onion. 

According to Forbes, Ryan of Ryan Toysreview trounced Jake Paul’s ‘Tube earnings by $500k, bringing in $22m of that sweet, American tickle cash this year alone.

Soooo, everyone’s cool with this? Good. Great. Carry on.

End of the day, Ryan’s just your average 1st-grader with millions of dollars, original content on multiple streaming networks, and his own Ryan action figure — just classic 7-year-old stuff.

Ryan is part of the “unboxing” world, in which content creators open stuff on camera while making insane amounts of money.

In his most popular video (which has snagged more than 1.5m views since Sunday) Ryan opens up giant eggs to find toys from Disney’s Cars and Paw Patrol

But 1.5m views barely scratches the surface: Ryan has more than 17.3m followers and nearly 26B views since his main channel launched in 2015… when he was 3.

The Boy King of ad dollars

About $21m of his earnings came from advertising on his channels, and the remaining $1m came from sponsored posts. In other words, Ryan’s young demo is watching like crazy, but they don’t exactly have a lot of buying power.

But, apparently, this voyeurism is the point. As founder/CEO of Bottle Rocket Management and agent to many “unboxers,” Chas Lacaillade, puts it: “Unboxing provides the proxy for actually experiencing the joy of receiving and opening something you really desire.”

Because who needs to experience joy when you can watch it on YouTube?

When Ryan’s not living out other kids’ fantasies, he’s a mini-mogul 

In October he signed deals with Hulu and Amazon to repackage and distribute content from his channel, and in August he launched Ryan’s World, a toy and apparel collection sold at Walmart and Target. 

Naturally, Ryan also serves as the creative director for his personal brand. What can we say? Some kids eat their boogers, others run multimillion-dollar brands. 

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