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What were you doing when you were 6? Not making millions of dollars reviewing toys online? Weird.
According to a list of the highest-paid YouTubers from Forbes this week, a YouTuber who goes by Ryan ToysReview raked in over 8 billion views between June 2016 and June 2017, earning him a staggering $11 million in advertising revenue. And that doesn’t count sponsored tie-ins from brands like Power Rangers that send Ryan boxes of their latest toys to try out.
The tiny vlogger has been posting reviews since March 2015, when he asked his parents to start him a channel at just 3 years old. Since then he has built his audience to more than 10 million subscribers. For privacy’s sake, Ryan’s family keeps his last name and the details of his life (like where he lives) confidential, which means that viewers are truly there just to watch him unbox toys. There’s no big personal narrative, just enthusiasm.
Ryan ranked eighth overall on Forbes‘ earners list—tied with adult comedians Smosh—and his ascent to YouTube royalty has been rapid. According to the Washington Post, the channel had just 1 million subscribers in January of 2016. After a video titled “100+ cars toys GIANT EGG SURPRISE OPENING Disney Pixar Lightning McQueen kids video Ryan ToysReview” did unprecedented numbers for the channel, Ryan’s subscriber pool grew to more than 5 million by January of 2017. Now, the world is this kid’s oyster.
In June, TubeFilter ranked Ryan ToysReview as the most-viewed YouTube channel in the U.S. for its 40th week in a row. And in September, NBA superstar Kevin Durant did a YouTube livestream with Ryan, performing a children’s science experiment. Not shabby for someone who’s probably still learning to tie his shoes.
Christine Friar is a writer and editor in New York who focuses on streaming entertainment and internet culture. Her work has appeared in the Awl, the Fader, New York Magazine, Paper Magazine, Vogue, Elle, and more.