(WSB-TV) Like many 7-year-olds, Ryan likes to play with toys. Lots of toys.
But Ryan has a YouTube channel with about 17 million subscribers who tune in to see what he thinks of those toys.
That makes him a social media influencer — and very wealthy one at that.
According to Forbes, Ryan, of Ryan ToysReview, was the highest earning YouTube star last year, raking in $22 million.
» 2018 Holiday Gift Guide: Top Toys
In addition to money that comes from advertisers, Ryan has side gigs. If he looks familiar, it’s because his face is on toys and clothing at many retailers, including Target, Kohl’s and Walmart.
Ryan, his parents and his twin sisters also have the YouTube channel Ryan’s Family Review, which has more than 3 million subscribers.
“It’s so cool,” Ryan, who serves as creative director, said of seeing his face in the aisles of Walmart, Forbes reported. These deals will likely add millions to his earnings next year.
» Amazon is selling a $30 toy vacuum for kids — and some parents say it actually works
Ryan and his parents started Ryan ToysReview in 2015 and have posted a new video nearly every day.
According to a 2016 profile by the Verge, Ryan’s mom quit her job as a high school chemistry teacher to work on the YouTube channel full time. The Verge reported the channel became catapulted in popularity about four months after it launched. This video was the catalyst:
“Ryan was watching a lot of toy review channels — some of his favorites are EvanTubeHD and Hulyan Maya — because they used to make a lot of videos about Thomas The Tank Engine, and Ryan was super into Thomas,” his mother, who doesn’t give her name, explained in an interview with TubeFilter. “One day, he asked me, ‘How come I’m not on YouTube when all the other kids are?’ So we just decided — yeah, we can do that. Then, we took him to the store to get his very first toy — I think it was a Lego train set — and it all started from there.”
To rank the YouTube stars, Forbes estimated earnings from June 1, 2017, through June 1, 2018. Figures are pretax; fees for agents, managers and lawyers are not deducted. Earnings estimates are based on data from Captiv8, SocialBlade and Pollstar, as well as interviews with industry insiders.
Ryan beat out YouTube bad boy Jake Paul, who came in at No. 2 with $21.5 million, and Dude Perfect, No. 3 with $20 million. Rounding out the list were from No. 4 to No. 10: DanTDM, $18.5 million; Jeffree Star, $18 million; Markiplier, $17.5 million; Vanoss Gaming, $17 million; Jackscepticeye, $16 million; PewDiePie, $15.5 million; and Logan Paul, $14.5 million.
© 2018 Cox Media