There are plenty of ways to make money in this world, but who knew that a child could make tens of millions of dollars publishing videos on YouTube?
In a new report this week, Forbes revealed that 8-year-old Ryan Kaji made a whopping $26 million off his YouTube videos this year. He started by reviewing and unboxing toys, but has since graduated to science experiments, according to the report. He even has a deal with Nickelodeon and Hulu.
But Kaji isn't the only child with significant earnings on YouTube. Five-year-old Anastasia Radzinskaya made $18 million this year, according to Forbes data. She's been able to amass that wealth by producing videos of her playing with her father. She also shares the videos in eight languages.
The Forbes findings point to just how much can be made by creators with compelling content--if they know how to monetize it. And, if nothing else, it suggests that children, especially, are interested in seeing other children playing online. And, if the Forbes data is accurate, there's serious money to be made in this category.
But the findings also make clear that while it's possible to make millions of dollars on YouTube, there are many more creators with channels that receive little or no interest. Simply putting up videos of your kid playing with toys or doing science experiments is no guarantee that the child will become the next big internet star.
What's perhaps most interesting about the two children in this year's Forbes list, however, is that they've also generated income outside of YouTube. They both have deals with major brands, and, in the case of Kaji, there's even a branded line of clothing and toys for his fans to buy.
That said, the days of cashing in on children's videos on YouTube might soon end.
YouTube has settled with the Federal Trade Commission for allegedly violating the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act. In response, the company said that it will ban ads on YouTube that specifically target children. The company might also modify search, so children's videos don't appear so highly in the results.
Kaji, Radzinskaya, and other child auteurs of YouTube need those searches and ads to drive their income. If that goes away, it's possible they could fall off Forbes's list next year.
For now, though, they're making great money while making videos for other children to enjoy. Here's hoping they're socking some of it away for college.