Unwrapping toy TV: Ryan's world and the toy review genre's impact on children's culture

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


YouTube Influencers have become an increasingly important part of children's media ecosystems and have a significant impact on both toy and entertainment culture. This chapter explores the toy review/unboxing genre and its intersections with the toy and media industries through the case study of Ryan's World. Ryan's World's star has been YouTube's top earning personality, and his channel has become very popular with young children, spawning a multi-media franchise and toy line. This chapter traces the evolution of the Ryan's World brand and how it evolved from a small family YouTube channel focused on toy play and opening surprise toys to a multi-million brand with global licensing, toys, video games, and a Nick Jr. television series. It argues that as the channel becomes increasingly integrated with established industry practices and businesses, its focus shifts to accommodate new priorities: expanding the channel's characters, focusing increasingly on its own brand, and ultimately diversifying beyond toy-related content. It further contends that the interests and structures of the YouTube genre impact the toy industry in promoting and proliferating an interest in surprise toys and, ultimately, in the incorporation of some key program attributes in a traditional television series-Ryan's Mystery Playdate.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Marketing of Children's Toys
Subtitle of host publicationCritical Perspectives on Children's Consumer Culture
Number of pages20
ISBN (Electronic)9783030628819
StatePublished - Apr 13 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2021. All rights reserved.


  • Children's media
  • Ryan's World
  • Toy reviews
  • Unboxing
  • YouTube

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences (all)
  • Economics, Econometrics and Finance (all)
  • Business, Management and Accounting (all)


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