YouTube’s Highest Earning Personality for 2020 is 9 Years Old

Ryan Kaji has achieved that distinction for the third year in a row

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Toys and YouTube make for a very profitable combination.
Valera Golovniov/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

The world of online influencers is frequently one where youth predominates. When it comes to YouTube’s announcement of its highest-earning personality, that’s also the case — but in this case, there’s youth and there’s being an actual child. Alternately, when you were 9 years old, were you making close to $30 million from your social media presence? Because Ryan Kaji is — and he’s been doing it for years.

A new article at The Guardian by Rupert Neate explores the details of Kaji’s success. Kaji’s videos focus on toys: reviewing them and unboxing them, all of which has brought in $29.5 million this year from YouTube. He’s the highest-earning personality on the service, and it’s the third year in a row he’s held that distinction. Which means that, yes, he evidently made absurdly large amounts of money when he was 7 years old.

Neate writes that Kaji made “a further estimated $200m from Ryan’s World branded toys and clothing, including Marks & Spencer pyjamas.” And that isn’t all: Neate also reports that Kaji recently signed a deal for a series on Nickelodeon.

Kaji has been making videos since 2015, and his channel currently has 41.7 million subscribers. His videos have 12.2 billion views; the most popular alone has been viewed 2 billion times. That hasn’t been without controversy, however: in 2019, The New York Times reported that Kaji’s YouTube channel faced complaints over not disclosing product placement.

You can view the list of the top 10 earning YouTube personalities at The Guardian. Stunt performers and video game discussions are well-represented on the list, but there’s also one personality, Nastya, who earned $18.5 million this year, high enough for sixth on the list. She’s also 3 years Kaji’s junior.

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