July 31, 2014 at 8:21 AM ET
It’s a YouTube channel called “DisneyCollectorBR,” and its simple, toy-focused videos have been watched more than 2.5 billion times, surpassing Psy’s “Gangnam Style.” DisneyCollectorBR was the most-watched YouTube channel in the entire United States during the week of July 4 — but no one seems to know the identity of the mystery woman behind the videos.
“She is absolutely enormous — there is no way to overstate the size of her audience,” entrepreneur and content and technology strategist David Williams told TODAY.
DisneyCollectorBR videos tend to have a hypnotic effect on the 3-year-old set, and they go like this: An anonymous woman’s manicured hands open and play with children’s toys. In a soothing voice with a pleasing accent, the woman describes the toys’ features and plays with them a little bit.
That’s all. But to small children, it’s mesmerizing.
“The effect is somewhat akin to crack for toddlers because of how you see them pining for it after it’s over,” said Williams, whose twin toddlers love the videos.
DisneyCollector’s offerings fall into a YouTube video category called “unboxing,” in which ordinary consumers and amateurs demonstrate the features of high-tech gadgets and less complex products, such as children’s toys.
Toy unboxing videos abound on YouTube, but DisneyCollector’s online traffic is staggering. One undramatic video about Angry Birds, SpongeBob SquarePants and Lightning McQueen toy eggs has nearly 92 million views.
A BuzzFeed analysis of DisneyCollector’s popularity reported that the channel likely brings in somewhere between $1.6 million and $13 million a year, and posed the question, “Is it possible an unknown, one-woman toy-reviewing YouTuber is making as much money as the average S&P 500 CEO?”
The BuzzFeed article pointed to evidence that DisneyCollector’s founder may be married to the man behind YouTube’s popular BluCollection toy unboxing channel, which has more than 1.7 billion views. (For one thing, DisneyCollector’s and BluCollection’s videos appear to be made under the same roof.)
“God bless them — they are doing it anonymously,” Williams told TODAY. “They've got that kind of money stuffed under their mattress and nobody knows. That’s fantastic!”