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May 23, 2005

Wiggling All the Way to the Bank

ELT News first reported on the early-education phenomenon from Down Under known as the Wiggles back in February 2003, though they have been going considerably longer. They are now considered Australia's "biggest entertainment export" and last year earned $45 million, ahead of Hollywood stars Nicole Kidman and Russell Crowe, according to The Age. The four performers have maintained tight control over their business but have recently had to become more organized with the financial side of things, particularly with a touring show that requires two 16-metre trucks, three tour buses and a cast of 13 dancers and 10 permanent crew. The group formed in 1991, when three of the four current members were studying early childhood education at Macquarie University. They have since sold some 17 million DVDs worldwide and sell a huge variety of Wiggles merchandising for kids.They are also huge in America - a San Diego newspaper described them as "the combined equivalent of Sinatra, Elvis and the Beatles amongst the pre-school set" - thanks largely to a major boost in popularity when they decided to go ahead with a tour in the aftermath of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. Business affairs general manager Mike Conway says, "No one competes in live shows with us. No one else is doing 750,000 tickets in the US. The only ones who compete are Mariah Carey, Jennifer Lopez and Metallica." The group have their eye on the Chinese market, and say they are also "keen on cracking Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore and Malaysia."
Read more about this Aussie supergroup: The Wiggly way

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