YouTube's highest paid star is a mysterious woman who unwraps Disney toys. For real.
The next sentence you’re about to read is completely true, even though you might not believe it. There’s a woman who made $4.9 MILLION dollars last year by recording herself opening Disney toys, and then uploading the videos to YouTube. Absolutely crazy, but true.
Open Slate, a video analytics platform, crunched last year’s numbers and made a list of the highest-earning YouTube channels, based on ad revenue. Taylor Swift’s channel and MovieClips Trailers made the top ten. But topping the list with the most cha-ching, was DC Toy Collector, a channel that features a mysterious woman, known only by her hands, opening boxes of toys (most of them Disney-related.)
Since this news was released, media outlets have been scrambling to identify this genius woman. Buzzfeed suggested she may be a 43-year-old Florida-based Disney collector, while the New York Times singled out a 21-year-old New Yorker. Still, the mogul’s identity has not been confirmed.
What we do know is that she uploads about one video per day, and that her highest performing video (over 178 million views!) involved her opening a box of Frozen-themed Play Doh. We also know she likes cool nail art. See above.
So how does one make bank on YouTube in the first place? First you have to verify your account to join the YouTube Partner Program, a revenue-sharing program based on ads that play before your video. The more viewers you rack up on your videos, the more you make. It’s a little more complicated than that. (More monetization details here, for you whipper-snappers.) Basically, the more videos you have, with the more sponsored ads playing before them, combined with a ton of views, equals a whole lot of money.
For those in the know, none of this is breaking news. What is pretty shocking, however, is how profitable “unboxing” videos really are.
What’s unboxing, you ask? It’s a video of a package being opened, while the contents are described — literally, someone unboxes an item, and, often, reviews it. It’s actually a pretty big thing on YouTube right now, and you can watch everything from video game consoles to shoes being unboxed. But unboxing Disney-related toys? People REALLY want to see that.
The biggest draw for these videos doesn’t lie with people looking to kill time on the Internet (read: procrastinate). Instead, the channel’s main viewers comes from parents and children looking for videos of toys online. It’s a new way to be a savvy consumer and to check out what a toy really looks like outside of it’s packaging. Also, maybe it just feels good to watch toys being opened. Back in my day, I played with the toy instead of watching someone else on the Internet play with the toy, but you know, changing times.