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This Nine-Year-Old is YouTube’s Biggest Earner For The Third Year Running

Ryan now has nine channels and one video has over 2 billion views. At his age I couldn’t tell the time.

Credit: YouTube/Ryan's World

Ryan Kaji’s content has earned him nearly $30 million dollars this year. It’s no surprise his young, impressionable audience have watchdogs worried.

Since its humble beginnings as a swirling mass of video content seemingly filmed on Nokia potatoes, YouTube has become a household name. With its worldwide audience and huge engagement potential, the next step was inevitable. Household names began to be made on YouTube.

PewDiePie, T-Series, Logan Paul, all have risen to fame via the platform. But, when it comes to sheer earnings, no one can compete with nine-year-old Ryan Kahi.

The young star of Ryan’s World, a toy review channel, earned $29.5 million (£21.8m) this year. 2020 is the third time in a row that he has been the world’s highest-paid YouTuber. Ryan now has nine channels and one video has over 2 billion views. At his age, I couldn’t tell the time.

So, a nine-year-old earns 50 times more than you, isn’t that tragic? Oh well, save your tears, there’s more. Ryan’s parents have earned an estimated $200 million from Ryan’s World branded products. Reflecting just how big the child influencer market is.

This isn’t surprising, as the global toy industry is valued at over $90 billion USD. What’s more, young children often can’t tell the difference between content and ads. And therein lies the problem for regulators. How do you protect children from ads viewed on a child’s YouTube channel?

Ryan’s parents have been accused of not properly citing sponsored content (Credit: YouTube/Ryan’s World)

The simple answer is any sponsored products featured activate a warning for viewers. Watchdog ‘Truth in Advertising’ claims this is inadequate since for children ‘it is impossible to discern the difference’ between ads and regular content.

Truth in Advertising also claim Ryan’s parents have not properly highlighted products in his videos nearly 90% of the time. They responded with the following:

‘The well-being of our viewers is always the top priority for us, and we strictly follow all platforms’ terms of service and all existing laws and regulations, including advertising disclosure requirements.’


As concerns over the advertising strategy of ‘child influencers’ and their parents grow, it is important to bear in mind how TV ads aimed at children are heavily regulated.

However wholesome content may seem, it is also a lucrative commercial venture. Going forward regulators need to treat it as such.

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