A Six-Year-Old Is Already Generation Alpha’s Biggest Star
As 16-year-old Charli D'Amelio hit 100 million followers on TikTok, six-year-old Diana of Kids Diana Show already amassed 69 million on YouTube. As Forbes declared 20-year-old Addison Rae the highest earning TikTokker with an estimated $5 million, the nine-year-old face of Ryan’s World remained the highest-earning YouTuber with $26 million. Gen Z may be the generation currently dominating social media, but if Pocket.watch studio, who works with Generation Alpha’s biggest, tiniest stars, is any indication, we ain’t seen nothing yet.
“I think the key commonality of all of our creators is authenticity,” Pocket.watch CMO Kerry Tucker says in a phone call. The company works with young stars like Kids Diana Show, Ryan’s World, HobbyKidsTV, and The Eh Bee Family, all creators with audiences in the millions going relatively unnoticed by adults without children. “These aren't actors, they're not reading from a script, they're not trained to do things. They're authentically acting like kids, and that is really attractive to other kids.”
“We started this as just a hobby,” Olena and Volodymyr, the Ukrainian parents of Diana and her eight-year-old brother Roma, say over email. “When our son Roma was born, we wanted a way to share with our families the joys of him growing up, so we created a video scrapbook on YouTube. We decided to do the same thing when Diana was born and have been documenting both of their lives ever since.”
But something about Diana took off. Her videos, the first of which was posted in 2015, involve minimal dialogue. When Diana does speak, she uses simple English like “cookies” and “yay.” Instead the entertainment relies mostly on her expressive face and costumes, acting out stories like “Diana and mysterious adventures on Halloween” and “The Floor is Lava with Diana and Roma.” In addition to her 69 million subscribers on YouTube, Diana frequently receives hundreds of millions of views on the videos themselves.
“We love all our subscribers from around the world and see them as Diana’s friends,” Olena and Volodymyr say. “We never imagined that the videos we created as a family would actually become a business as well.”
A year after starting the channel, the family hired a small team to help them with their five to ten-minute videos, which can take them anywhere from a few days to a week to create. Then in the fall, they partnered with Pocket.watch to launch a line of toys and dress-up sets with Walmart called “Love, Diana - The Princess of Play.” Pocket.watch also launched a live-action/animation hybrid show on YouTube called Love, Diana Adventures. This is just the first push in what the company says is a lifelong partnership with their creators.
“We are partners in the truest sense,” Tucker says. “The audience certainly can grow with them [and] the YouTube content that was created when [they were] five is still out in the universe to be discovered by new five-year-olds. That's the beauty of digital content...that audience is the same audience that then follows them to Walmart and Target and Amazon, follows them to Nickelodeon, follows them to movie deals and Netflix and Hulu.”
It was Olena and Volodymyr’s idea to reach out to Pocket.watch after witnessing the success of their work with Ryan’s World, spotting an opportunity for an unapologetically girly, playful, and already extremely popular six-year-old to find a similar partnership.
“One of the things that we wanted to do is really lean into what we believed girls were,” Tucker says of the toy and dress-up line. “Everything is a mashup. You have a doll that is a superhero princess, you have a costume that is a baker mermaid, you have a pop star fairy.”
Many things about Diana have already adapted to YouTube stardom: Her parents say she was heavily involved in the creation of her toy line, and she’s often approached by fans in public. She and her brother also can already read and write in both Russian and English, a sign of their worldwide reach. But Olena and Volodymyr think it’s extremely important to keep their children grounded.
“We teach children not to be arrogant and not to boast that they are stars, as it’s not fitting to do so in our culture,” they say. “While they have this advantage in life, it does not mean that other people are very different from them.”
The video-first, and particularly YouTube-first, nature of Generation Alpha may make that even more true, with a majority of young kids finding common ground on the internet.
“These kids are born into a world that is ruled by mobile devices and digital video," Tucker says. “So when we choose our creators who are speaking to this audience, you'll notice that all of our creators are putting both entertaining and educational content into the world. We're leaning into this generation who speaks first digitally, unlocking the infinite possibilities of their digital world."