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Toy "Review" Videos Are Weird and Popular. So Disney's Maker Studios Is Signing Them Up.

They are (probably) not for us. But YouTube loves them.

Peter Kafka covers media and technology, and their intersection, at Vox. Many of his stories can be found in his Kafka on Media newsletter, and he also hosts the Recode Media podcast.

Disney characters and properties appear in some of YouTube’s most popular programming, but Disney doesn’t make any money when that happens. Now Disney wants to change that.

Disney’s Maker Studios network has signed on five “toy review” programmers, who produce a weird, fetishistic and very popular kind of video — they usually consists of not much more than showing a toy in its packaging, describing it, then taking it out of the packaging.

Here’s a pretty representative example, from DisneyCarToys:

This sort of stuff is very popular on YouTube! DisneyCarToys, for example, boasts more than 1 million subscribers, and Disney/Maker says it has generated 140 million views in the last month.

And if that seems odd to you, consider that “unboxing” videos have been a big deal for tech nerds for a very long time. And that “haul” videos, where young women show off stuff they’ve bought, are the basis for StyleHaul, a company worth $150 million.

Or, more practically, consider that you’re a very young kid, or a person who has very young kids. This kind of stuff won’t make you or your progeny smarter, but it will occupy some eyeballs for some time.

In any case, Disney didn’t have any formal connection to DisneyCarToys, or the other four channels Maker has connected with — HobbyKidsTV, TheEngineeringFamily, ToysReviewToys and AllToyCollector (How about those search-friendly names!). And now it does. Maker, the network Disney bought for $500 million-plus this year, will help the channels get more distribution, and generate ad revenue.

It’s worth noting that “DC Toys Collector,” a programmer who used to go by “DisneyCollectorBR” and is by far the most popular maker of this stuff, is not included in the pact. This is worth noting, since DC Toys Collector generated an astounding 104 million views in the last week — more than Taylor Swift.

Also, intriguingly and confusingly, a press release from Maker says that the company is “working to incorporate new and existing partners into creator empowerment and access programs across Disney divisions.” That’s some tortured language, but it sure makes it sound like the YouTube programmers might get help getting their hands on Disney gear. I’ve asked for confirmation.

This article originally appeared on

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