Kidfluence: How a generation of children fell for the kids of YouTube

Once upon a time there was a little boy called Ryan, who went to the local toy store with his parents to buy a toy. He chose a Lego Duplo train and went home to play with it. His parents, like many of us do, made a video of this run-of-the mill excursion with their adorable, precocious three-year-old, so that his grandparents could share their joy at the cuteness and cleverness of little Ryan. The video, like many millions of other family videos, was then uploaded to YouTube.

ut unlike the many millions of other family videos, Ryan’s 15-minute video got lots of hits and after a year or so the channel earned enough for mum Loann to become a full-time ‘YouTube’ mom and later, Ryan’s dad Shion gave up his job as a structural engineer to join the family firm. Since then, Ryan’s Toys Review has evolved into a content creation and branding phenomenon with 10 YouTube channels, the most popular of which is Ryan’s World, that earns the Texas-based Ryan (10) and the rest of the Kaji family $27m annually. Commercial partners include Amazon, Walmart and Nickelodeon.

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