It’s a typical Sunday afternoon for the Kaji family, from Honolulu, Hawaii. They play a game, save it on mom’s phone, have fun. But what’s not typical is that when they’re done, they’ll send the video off to a production team in Houston, who will edit and package it as part of a kids’ entertainment empire. of several million dollars, known as “Ryan’s World”. .” Their content on YouTube gets billions of views a month.
They also have a TV show on Nickelodeon, “Ryan’s Mystery Playdate” and of course, licensed toys – so many toys! – all generating, by some estimates, more than $25 million a year, making Kajis one of YouTube’s highest earners.
And it all started, more or less by accident, when Ryan was just three years old. “When I first put the video on, I didn’t think about it,” said Loann Kaji, Ryan’s mother. “And I tried to share it with my friends and my family, because, you know, we both have a lot of family members outside of the United States”
But today, this video of Ryan playing with toys, aimed at loved ones, has over 52 million views:
Correspondent Luke Burbank asked Ryan’s father, Shion, “Do you have any theories as to why those videos you were making were so popular?”
“I think authenticity is definitely the number one factor,” he replied, “probably mainly because we’re filming at home and we don’t have a line-by-line script.”
Before long, Shion and Loann quit their jobs to start a family business on YouTube, which eventually led them to Kerry Tucker, chief marketing officer at Pocket Watch, a sort of old-school Hollywood studio system for a very new kind. of content.
“We’re taking the world’s biggest children’s YouTube stars and turning them into global franchises,” Tucker said. “This generation, this Generation Alpha, only knows one world with YouTube and mobile devices. The way we think about it is that Pocket Watch wants to be wherever the kids are.”
Tucker helped inflate the Kajis’ brand, literally — from the Macy’s Day parade to the toy aisles everywhere.
You’d think a kid with their own toy line and more daily viewers than most TV networks might let it go. But it turns out that Ryan is like a lot of other 10-year-olds. He especially wanted to talk about the video games he loves.
Burbank asked him, “So you’re a fat guy, like Roblox, Minecraft?”
“Do you have any tips for me as a broadcaster on how I can get more people to watch the stuff I do?”
“I guess – hmmm, I think you should just, like, keep doing it and wait,” Ryan replied. “And eventually it’s going to blow up. I mean, YouTube is partly luck.”
“Partially lucky?” What do you mean ?
“Because people, like, have to find your videos. And then it comes back to recommendations from a lot of people and stuff,” he said.
Burbank asked, “Would you like to recommend my show on one of your videos, try to help us?”
” Perhaps. How do you call this ?
“It’s called ‘CBS Sunday Morning.’ Can you incorporate this into one of your videos?”
“Perhaps!” said Ryan.
“Ok thank you!”
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Story produced by John Goodwin. Publisher: Ben McCormick.