A few weeks ago, my friend, who has three kids, told me that her little girl loves watching videos of children playing with toys on YouTube.
That notion still has not really sunk in for me...when I was a kid, there's no way I would have been content to sit around watching other kids play. *I* wanted to be the one playing. Why would I want to watch another kid have fun if I wasn't having fun too?
But apparently times, they are a-changin', and kids watching other kids playing is a pretty popular thing, and a very big business.
Seven-year-old Ryan, of Ryan ToysReview, is one of the highest-paid YouTube stars (yeah, that's a thing), making $22 MILLION in ad revenue this year alone. Ryan has topped the Forbes list of highest-earning YouTubers (up from #8 last year), and he's done it by posting videos of him playing with and reviewing toys. Well, technically, his parents are the ones shooting and posting the videos.
This is completely baffling to me. Maybe it's because I grew up before YouTube existed, but I can't imaging sitting there watching someone playing with a toy, especially if I were a kid. But the reason Ryan is making so much bank is because kids are watching him play, and then they're asking their parents to buy the toys in the videos...so the videos are turning into a huge retail opportunity.
I wonder, does Ryan understand his channel's popularity? Does he understand that he's making money--a LOT of money? What are his parents doing with the money? Let's all hope Ryan doesn't end up broke before he's old enough to drink because his parents squandered his fortune.
Check out one of Ryan's videos to get an idea of how his channel works. I personally find the videos WAY too long...28 minutes? Come on. I have things to do! But hey, I'm obviously not the demographic they're marketing to! lol!