As the rules on advertising change, many
are trying to take advantage of their status in
to turn it into something else.
"I thought we were having a meeting," says Damian Camarillo, a promising 12-year-old YouTube star, looking at his father, Eli.
His father looks at his phone and says, "It's tomorrow at 2. They change all the time."
Damian nods and sits down on the sofa. You are resting after participating in the
New York Toy Fair
, an annual industry conference that draws more than 25,000 people from around the world.
For decades, the event was the exclusive domain of adults – toy makers, merchants, and media companies – showing off their latest products and trying to identify upcoming trends.
One of the videos from Daman Camarillo's YouTube channel
But, in recent years, celebrity kids on YouTube have become some of the biggest players.
The Camarillos, who started publishing in 2015 and gained fame after releasing a video of Damian and his cousin eating spicy fries, are established stars in that sky.
They have close to a million subscribers on their channels, showing Damian and his 8-year-old brother, Deion, fighting with toy guns, racing cars, or playing Fortnite.
Your biggest channel,
Damian and Deion in Motion
, has about 13 million visits per month, calculates Eli Camarillo.
Million dollar earnings
Depending on the year, the family, who lives in Arizona, has earned between $ 400,000 and $ 1,000,000 a year, says the father.
Regular toy shipments and direct sponsorships help them with their posts and supplement their advertising revenue.
It is such a large business that Camarillo had to quit his job as a computer scientist in the healthcare industry three years ago.
But the family has a long way to go to achieve the status of 8-year-old Ryan Kaji, whose channel
It has more than 24 million subscribers.
His ranking on YouTube as one of the top earners translated into his own line of toys valued at $ 200 million and a series on the pay TV channel Nickelodeon.
"That child makes $ 25 million a year. Why wouldn't you want to be in the same situation?" Asks Camarillo. "I think that is the goal."
The desire to expand comes at a critical moment.
With the industry dropping sales, toymakers are increasingly deepening their relationships with YouTube creators, offering sponsored videos and licensing deals, by virtue of the power they have to attract audiences and drive sales.
Meanwhile, youtubers are grappling with a drop in ad revenue, which came after the platform revised its advertising policies, so children's channels would comply with privacy regulations.
Change of rules
For the Camarillos, the changes – which include limits on targeted ads and the end of comments – meant a snapshot in ad revenue of about 50%.
"We prepared for that. We knew it was coming," says Camarillo. Still, it took him some time to get settled. When the changes were announced, the family had just bought a home.
In addition to financial pressure, some warn that new YouTube rules may make it difficult for new voices to appear.
The United States is currently reviewing changes to children's online privacy law.
But while stricter rules may be imposed for children's ads and on social media marketing, many in the industry doubt that it hurts the growth of influencers.
Globally, companies are expected to spend about $ 10 billion this year on "marketing for influencers" ($ 6.5 million in 2019), according to industry estimates.
In the toy industry, influencers on social media attract almost as much investment as they do on traditional television, says Juli Lennett of research firm NPD Group. For other companies, it can be much more.
You have to accept that "YouTube is there," he says. "And you need to be where the children are."
About 40% of children age 14 and younger watch YouTube or "YouTube for Kids" at least every week.
More than 60% in that age group have bought something they saw on video, according to a survey done last year by NPD Group for the Toy Association of America.
Brian Bonnett is CEO of Bonkers Toys, which is licensed by Ryan's Toys and works with multiple families on other toy lines.
While many in the industry see the platform and its creators primarily as a vehicle for advertising, he says he expects this to change in the coming years.
"It is inevitable," he says. "Everyone has a youtuber."
This year's Toy Fair attracted 100 YouTube channel owners this year, compared to 90 in 2019, several of whom are represented by Hollywood agents.
Viewers don't seem to mind the increasing commercialization, says Lucy Maxwell, a former teacher whose family started her Tic Tac Toy channel as a hobby.
Now the channel has around 3.5 million subscribers to its videos, many of which are sponsored and licensed for an XOXO toy line.
Maxwells Jason, Lucy, Addy, 9, and Maya, 7, are now trying to expand into other types of businesses, such as decorating and household items.
"I think this is only part of what we will see in influencer marketing," says Jason, who previously worked in the finance industry.
"I think this is going to be something even much bigger."
The Camarillos have a dozen meetings organized during the toy fair.
Damian says that his classmates say that he is "famous" and adds: "but I really am not." His goal is to reach a million subscribers on a single channel.
"I feel like a great youtuber, but we're still little," he says. "We are getting there."
. (tagsToTranslate) How is the life of the boys who earn a million dollars a year on YouTube – LA NACION