A 5-year-old boy is a rising star on YouTube with over 550 million views of his most popular video. He and his family are making about $1 million a month from advertising alone. At last count, he had 6,038,116 subscribers and over 10 billion lifetime views. The statistics are staggering.

At the beginning of 2017, Ryan ToysReview was the second most viewed of all YouTube channels. It placed just behind T-Series, India’s largest music and movie studio. Ryan surpassed Justin Bieber, Ariana Grande, the WWE, and even popular twenty-something gamer PewDiePie in popularity, according to the stats at socialblade.com

Today’s toddlers and preschoolers are moving their gazes from TV to YouTube … Some of them are becoming the creators … And a few are hitting high rankings and pulling in massive returns with their own shows.

Ryan, like so many other kids his age, enjoyed watching “unboxing” videos. One day, Ryan asked, “How come I’m not on YouTube when all the other kids are?”

His parents soon bought him his first toy to unbox – a Lego train set. Making the videos became a way to spend time together as a family. It also gave them a way to share Ryan’s childhood with relatives outside the U.S. They kept shopping, and the rest is history.

Unlike Bieber, Buzzfeed, and the professionally produced, Evantubehd, Ryan appears in simple, DIY home videos. Most follow the same basic pattern. Ryan shows us the package, takes out each toy or part one-by-one, and plays with all. Despite the unsophisticated format, visits and subscriptions have soared and Ryan continues to win new viewers with his warm smile and genuine sense of wonder.

Ryan’s amazing success points to 5 hot trends on YouTube today:

1 – YouTube For Kids

YouTube is overflowing with channels completely dedicated to young children – and they can watch them almost anywhere on YouTube Kids. The app, which is available on Google Play, promises parents a safer viewing experience. Content is rated E for Everyone, and adults can log in with PIN numbers to set up controls blocking any videos and channels they choose.

If you have a phone running on Android 4.1 or later, you can join the tens of millions of people who have installed YouTube Kids. In fact, it’s probably already bundled with the rest of your Google apps. You just never noticed – unless it’s already your after-school survival plan.

2 – Unboxing

Unboxing videos were big in 2016. They continue to be popular. Viewers experience the thrill of discovering what’s inside all kinds of product packaging, shipping boxes, eggs, and wrapped presents. Program hosts unbox shoes, dolls, cameras, makeup, iPhones, and Apple Airpods. Unbox Therapy even devotes an entire video to the Sitpack pocket chair. There’s something for everyone.

3 – Toys, Toys, Toys

5 of the top 25 most viewed of ALL YouTube channels at the start of 2017 were devoted to toys:

  • Ryan ToysReview was the second most viewed among ALL YouTube channels.
  • Toy Freaks came in at #6. The channel features both adults and children sporting pacifiers. Characters mumble dialogue through the plastic rings as they play together with featured toys.
  • At #11, Toy Scouter’s Disney and Marvel-themed cast members star in imaginative scenarios. The adventures take place in ordinary kitchens and city neighborhoods streets. Although the channel showed friendly Play-Doh reviews only a year ago, the vibe has changed. Parents may have to use caution, unless their kids can tolerate seeing Elsa kidnapped and bound by an evil lizard with a very long tongue.
  • Hasbro came in at #21. The toy company’s channel offers short, friendly cartoons bringing stories and toys together for the younger set.
  • At #23, Toys and Me features free play and toy openings with more …. pacifiers. Many of their popular videos feature one of the biggest toy videos trends – Surprise Eggs

4 – Giant Egg Surprises

Eggs are in (again). Hatchimals were the hot items this past holiday season. Surprise egg reveals are all over YouTube and Ryan’s top episode was one of them.

Like Ryan’s other videos, it’s a simple home movie. Ryan’s mom holds the camera and wakes her son to the sight of a giant red Lightning McQueen egg. He hops out of bed, cracks it open with a giant inflatable bat, and pulls out cars and trucks.

5 – Product Reviews

Product reviews are still in high demand. Marques Brownlee’s popular tech review channel has grown steadily over the past several years. It now reaches over 4 million subscribers eager for glimpses of new Google Pixels and RED camera upgrades.

We’ve moved beyond the infomercial to a new form of open-sourced, consumer-based entertainment. Anyone, anywhere with a camera or phone can play … and that’s something to consider the next time that surprise package comes in the mail …

 

Currently Ryan’s most viewed video:

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