If only broadcast owners really knew what ads viewers were watching, maybe then they could prove the value of their advertising to brands.

But that prospect is no longer just a possibility, it is a reality, and NBCUniversal just became one of the latest to undertake the practice.

It inked a deal with iSpot.tv, a real-time analytics company, has a panel of eight million from Vizio’s Inscape business unit, which uses automated content recognition (ACR) to figure out what viewers are really watching.

For iSpot.tv founder Sean Muller, it is part of a new era.

“We’ve been working with hundreds of brands in the marketplace to really move TV into the age of audience-based and business-based outcomes, and now we’re bringing it to the sales side,” he tells Beet.TV.

“(The partnership) allows any Audience Studio advertiser at NBC to have validation that the segments that NBC’s building from are, in fact, providing a lift in business outcomes.”

Traditionally, television has been seen as a top-of-funnel branding medium, but the increasing ability to track viewers from exposure to action and purchase may change that.

Several companies are trying to turn television in to a performance marketing channel.

“Really, what’s going to happen is the same segments that are being built in the digital world, they’re going to be planned and bought against in the TV world,” Muller adds.

This video was recorded at the annual DMS conference presented by LUMA Partners.