The parents of 7-year-old Ryan Kaji, whose YouTube channel, Ryan ToysReview, was the highest-earning on YouTube, with an estimated $22 million in revenue earned in 2018, are facing investigation by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).
They are reportedly facing scrutiny for failing to disclose paid advertisements in their YouTube videos.
Ryan ToysReview, a YouTube channel that reviews toys, is managed by Ryan Kaji’s father Shion Guan and mother Kieu-loan Guan. The channel has more than 21.4 million subscribers.
The first-grader, who stars on the channel, is currently among the top influencers in the toy industry. Many of the videos uploaded to his channel have received millions of views.
One video, titled Giant Lightning McQueen Egg Surprise with 100+ Disney Cars Toys, has received more than 986 million views.
Another, titled Huge Eggs Surprise Toys Challenge with Inflatable water slide, has received nearly 1.9 billion views. The video is one of the most viewed in all of YouTube history.
In 2017, Forbes named Ryan the 8th highest paid YouTuber, with an estimated revenue of $11 million. Forbes also named him the highest-paid YouTuber with revenue of about $22 million.
However, the Federal Trade Commission recently received a complaint from the consumer watchdog group Truth in Advertising. The organization claims Ryan’s parents, who manage his YouTube channel, failed to disclose paid sponsorship by companies, including Walmart.
According to the complaint, more than 92 percent of the videos uploaded to the channel featured products by sponsoring brands aimed at children under five. However, the channel managers did not always make it clear that subscribers were viewing a paid advertisement.
According to the complaint, even when the parents labeled videos as ads, it was not unambiguously clear they were promoting toys by companies sponsoring the channel.
Ryan has a line of branded toys sold by Walmart under his Ryan’s World brand, a toy-line created in partnership with Bonkers Toy Co.
Although Google, which owns YouTube, has not commented on the matter, the family released a statement:
“The well-being of our viewers is always the top priority for us, and we strictly follow all platforms’ terms of service and all existing laws and regulations, including advertising disclosure requirements.
As the streaming space continues to quickly grow and evolve, we support efforts by lawmakers, industry representatives and regulators such as the F.T.C. to continuously evaluate and update existing guidelines and lay new ground rules to protect both viewers and creators.”
Ryan’s fans, mostly children aged 3 to 7, are located around the world, in the U.S., Europe, and Asia, especially in the Philippines. The channel has reportedly received more than 30 billion views.
Ryan Kaji has partnerships with many companies, including Walmart, Nickelodeon, and Colgate.
Who is Ryan Kaji?
Ryan Kaji was born in 2011 to Shion (father) and Kieu-Loan Guan (mother).
There is not much information about him and his family. His 35-year-old mother Kieu-loan Guan was a high school chemistry teacher who quit her teaching job to manage her son’s YouTube channel.
Ryan’s father, Shion, is a structural engineer, according to the Daily Mail.
Ryan started making videos on YouTube in 2015. His channel signed a deal with Chris Williams and Albie Hecht’s children’s media company pocket.watch in 2017. Pocket.watch does marketing and manages merchandise for Ryan’s channel.
Pocket.watch helped Ryan create an app for iOS and Android, called Tag with Ryan in 2018, and in 2019, they created a 20-episode TV series targeted at preschoolers, titled Ryan’s Mystery Playdate.
Shion and Kieu-loan Guan have a company, Remka Inc., registered as Ryan ToysReview’s holding company. They own several properties, including a six-bedroom property worth about $995,000 in Cypress, Texas.