A Florida-based Russian family’s YouTube channel of their kids playing with lavish toys and globe-trotting to luxury destinations, has netted them tens of millions of dollars and bought them a $12.5m Miami mansion, a Ferrari and a Range Rover.
The child stars of the YouTube channel ‘Vlad and Niki,’ aptly named after the boys, has more than 90 million subscribers and has made them one of the most popular YouTube channels in the world.
In the videos posted online, the children’s parents play sidekicks in what has described as live-action cartoons in a suburban fantasy land.
Vlad, 9, and Niki, 7, are often joined in the videos by their parents Sergey and Victoria Vashketov, who started making videos out of their home in Moscow in 2018.
Sergey Vashketov had been a midlevel executive at a food manufacturer, while their mother Victoria, was a former gymnast.
The family who now live in a $12.5 million mansion in Golden Beach, Florida, just outside of Miami started from humble beginnings.
The videos were staged in basic locations like at the kitchen table or in a local park, shooting with smartphones and employing very little, if any editing.
Vlad, 9, and Niki, 7, are often joined in the videos by their parents Sergey and Victoria Vashketov, who started making videos in 2018 at their home in Moscow
The child stars of the YouTube channel ‘Vlad and Niki,’ aptly named after the boys, has more than 90 million subscribers
The channel which features, vlogging, advertising and roleplays now has a film crew of up to five people at a time including scouts, camera operators and people who help secure props
After videos began racking up millions of views on YouTube, Victoria and Sergey saw an opportunity to create a business around them, and they began investing in making more polished videos involving more extravagant locations and toys.
The more popular the videos, the more often YouTube’s algorithm recommended their posts to kids.
The more success the kids found the more luxurious the toys and videos in the short clips became.
In one video Vlad and Niki are seen snubbing their mom’s Range Rover to ride in their dad’s hot red Ferrari.
The channel which features, vlogging, advertising and roleplays now has a film crew of up to five people at a time including scouts, camera operators and people who help secure props.
They also have a mobile-gaming application design team and assistants who help manage their social media accounts.
Victoria, the boy’s mother, said their success is due to children watching the show thinking her son’s are friends of theirs
In one video Vlad and Niki are seen snubbing their mom’s Range Rover to ride in their dad’s hot red Ferrari
To cater for their global viewership, a team of translators have also been employed for their foreign-language channels.
Vlad and Niki’s mother, Victoria Vashketov told the Wall Street Journal that the videos success comes from other children believing that her children are their friends.
‘Kids feel that Vlad and Niki are their friends,’ Victoria explained.
The channel signed a representation deal with Haven Global, an Australian-based licensing agency, to develop new content, consumer products, and licenses for mobile apps under their brand.
They have also signed a deal with Playmates Toys, a Hong Kong-based manufacturer, to produce toys under their brand .
In 2019, the brothers were reportedly one of the most lucrative YouTubers making an estimated $312,000 per video.
‘You can create a global franchise without a major studio,’ Dan Weinstein, who represents ‘Vlad and Niki’ under the banner of his company Underscore Talent said to WSJ.
‘I think that’s pretty mind-blowing to think about.’
Luck and timing were important. So too were analytics, said Mr. Weinstein, who has been advising digital creators like the Vashketovs for more than a decade.
YouTube helps creators build their audiences by providing data-driven tools that can analyze how their videos perform and help plan their content.
That includes knowing what YouTube audiences are searching for, what the creator’s viewers are searching for, when they are on YouTube, other channels that the audience watches and other data points.
The Vashketov family, some of the biggest stars on YouTube, purchased this mansion along the water in Golden Beach, Miami, Florida for $12.5 million
It features eight bedrooms, nine bathrooms, two half-bathrooms, a pool, and a dock. It’s situated along a canal leading to the Intracoastal Waterway
The home was built on the 16,500-square-foot lot in 2016. This is the first time it has sold
It allows creators to engage in their own brand of A/B testing, tweaking each nuance of a channel’s presentation to see how it might impact viewership, including the color scheme, titles for the videos and even what types of thumbnail photos impact viewership.
‘Sergey and Victoria are voracious students of YouTube and content creation,’ said Weinstein.
The channel has a looming dilemma as the boy start to grow up, but Vlad already has an eye on the future, telling WSJ that he dreams of following in the footsteps of YouTube’s top creator, MrBeast.
Weinstein said he’s also lining up opportunities for Vlad and his brother to get into the music business, hiring producers and songwriters who have worked with both Justin Bieber and Selena Gomez to help put together some original songs.
The Vashketovs said their kids can stop making videos any time they want.
‘Our inspiration really comes from Vlad’s and Niki’s interest,’ said Sergey.
‘If we try to do something that they are not into, it doesn’t look authentic.’
As Vlad gets older, his 3-year-old brother Christian may step in.
Weinstein said he’s also lining up opportunities for Vlad and his brother to get into the music business as the boys get older
Diana’s parents, Olena and Volodymyr Kidisyuk, started making videos out of their home in Kyiv, Ukraine, turning their camera on their daughter and older brother Roma
Vlad and Niki join some of the most popular live-action YouTube kid’s channels in the world ‘Like Nastya’ and ‘Kids Diana Show’ (Diana pictured here in Paris) who are among the top rated
Victoria said even though Christian has appeared in several videos already, there are no plans to create a channel for her youngest son. That also goes for the baby girl she gave birth to in September.
The family join some of the most popular live-action YouTube kid’s channels in the world ‘Like Nastya’ and ‘Kids Diana Show’ who are among the top rated.
Nastya, whose full name is Anastasia Radzinskaya, comes from Krasnodar, Russia.
Her parents started posting videos of their daughter on YouTube to show off her speaking skills after a doctor falsely diagnosed her with cerebral palsy and said she might never speak.
Some of Nastya’s first videos show her playing with Legos and opening a Disney themed mystery egg.
Meanwhile, Diana’s parents, Olena and Volodymyr Kidisyuk, started making videos out of their home in Kyiv, Ukraine, turning their camera on their daughter and older brother Roma, who played with popular toys in videos like Peppa Pig, Hot Wheels and Play-Doh.
All three families have stayed friendly but as success among the three YouTuber’s grow, competition between the families isn’t off the table.
Vlad and Niki’s mom said she sometimes will check to see how well Nastya or Diana videos have performed, but played down the competitiveness.
‘As parents, we all get along, and all the kids enjoy playing together.’
Collectively the three channels boast 300 million YouTube subscribers.