In 1994, almost 300 million viewers went wild over a seven-minute Irish step-dance performance that Moya Doherty produced for Ireland's Eurovision Song Contest.
Today, Ms. Doherty's original troupe has evolved into "Riverdance," the multimillion-dollar mega-hit that has performed on stages across the globe in front of nearly 2 million fans. Ms. Doherty, once a producer for RTE, Ireland's national TV network, is the producer and creator of "Riverdance," and the woman who has guided it to success.
"Riverdance" has broken box office records at nearly every venue at which it plays. Shows usually sell out before they are even advertised. More than 3 million videos of "Riverdance-The Show" have been sold, along with over $8 million worth of merchandising.
After witnessing the initial enthusiasm for the performance in Ireland, Ms. Doherty and her husband, "Riverdance" Director John McColgan, decided to take a risk. The two invested their own money in the show-well over $1 million-and ran with the idea, marketing it throughout that country.
That led to a video benefiting war-torn Rwanda, raising $500,000 for the cause and selling 100,000 copies in a week. Ms. Doherty decided to expand the show and market on a global level. She met with overwhelming success, including in the U.S.
"We position carefully in the market," Ms. Doherty says.
"Riverdance" maximizes its marketing by combining merchandising, broadcasting and live performances concurrently.
The troupe has appeared on "The Late Show with David Letterman," "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno" and "Good Morning America." In addition, PBS stations have carried performances.
Videos and CDs are marketed with the live performances to create an all-out marketing blitz.
" 'Riverdance' has created a trend," Ms. Doherty says. "I think we [entertainers] have been too safe in the past. We have been too dependent on the