YouTube's Top Earner Is A 7-Year-Old Who Makes $22 Million Per Year

Aaron Homer

The biggest moneymaker on YouTube is a 7-year-old boy who made $22 million last year, Forbes is reporting.

Ryan ToysReview has probably as simple a premise as any YouTube channel that has ever been created: a young boy named Ryan (his last name is a secret, for obvious reasons) opens up boxes of toys and plays with them. If he likes them, great. If he doesn't like them, that's great too.

As it turns out though, Ryan has found the sweet spot when it comes to making money on YouTube. That's because his infectious enthusiasm, plus all of those amazing toys, are loved by millions of children all over the world (17.3 million subscribers, and 26 billion views since his channel started). What's more, Ryan's reviews can make or break a new toy; toys he's particularly enthusiastic about can sell out within hours.

All of that translates to an apparently limitless stream of money. About $21 million of Ryan's earnings come from ad revenue - those ads that play before a lot of YouTube videos. Another million or so comes from paid sponsorships.

Ryan, for his part, is pretty circumspect when it comes to why he makes so much money.

"I'm entertaining and I'm funny."

The remainder of the Top Ten money-earners on YouTube are, in order:

As for Ryan of Ryan ToysReview, he may yet decide that doing toy reviews on YouTube is no longer for him (or more likely, he'll outgrow children's toys when he reaches adolescence). If or when that happens, his sponsors, management, agents, and parents may gasp in horror, but Ryan himself will be OK: he has enough money "for ten lifetimes," says industry analyst Chas Lacaillade.