How an Ottawa-based firm rode the cord-cutting trend without a Netflix-sized marketing budget

Just before Ottawa-based Nuvyyo launched its brand new Tablo product at the Consumer Electronics Show in 2014, Nuvyyo’s vice-president of marketing Renata Scorsone recalls beta-testing the over-the-air TV streaming device with broadcast content from the Sochi Winter Olympics.

Two years later as the Rio Summer Olympics are airing, the content is being picked up by Tablo users in every U.S. state (including Alaska and Hawaii) and most provinces in Canada. A privately-held company, Nuvyyo doesn’t disclose financials or the number of units sold, but Scorsone characterizes its customer base as “an awful lot of over-the-air watchers.”

Tablo is a device that you plug into your TV antenna. It records your favourite shows to a DVR, much in the same way set-top boxes packed with cable subscriptions do. The difference, of course, is that over-the-air (OTA) content is free. Tablo allows you to stream your stored content to just about any device, including smartphones, tablets, and myriad set-top boxes connected to televisions such as Apple TV, Roku, ChromeCast, and Amazon Fire.

“The cable-cutting movement is something we’ve been able to take advantage of, and really ride the wave as people become dissatisfied with the status quo,” Scorsone says. “We don’t have the budget of someone like Bell, Rogers, or Comcast, so we work with partners like Sling TV and Amazon to really ride the coat tails of the momentum of the industry.”

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