Led by direct-to-consumer brands, marketers are ahead of the curve when it comes to attribution of television advertising spending. “The advertisers have actually been doing attribution for much longer than the media companies and the agencies,” says Sean Muller, Founder & CEO of iSpot.tv.

“So we see the advertisers as actually driving the marketplace forward on bringing business outcome type of thinking to the television world,” Muller adds in this interview with Beet.TV at the recent LUMA Partners Digital Media East conference.

It’s symptomatic of a shift from digital media to TV regarding accountability, according to Muller. “But television is difficult. It’s extremely hard to measure television” given its various iterations—linear, time-shifted, on-demand and syndicated. “It’s very, very, very complex.”

iSpot.tv has spent the last seven years “reinventing measurement for TV,” starting with the ability to do it in real time and at scale and then adding the capability to connect ad exposures to business outcomes. In other words, “using how television is bought without sort of reinventing how television is bought. Because that’s hard to change.”

The company’s proprietary ad catalog automatically tracks every TV ad on more than 120 networks and layers on meta data, according to Muller. “We then track airing schedules for every single TV ad so we know when every program and every ad airs.”

Four years ago, iSpot.tv added smart-TV data to the mix “so we’re actually the first company to commercialize smart TV data in a major way.” When all of the data are combined with U.S. Census demographics and geography data, the result is “a fully processed and cleansed and accurate TV side.”

Almost all (85%) of the company’s revenue is brand-direct, with the remainder coming from TV networks.

“We have 200 large advertiser clients that use the platform “to really bring their TV strategy in house, have transparency and then use us for everything from competitive measurement to attention to attribution and lift measurement,” Muller says.

“What I will say though is that advertisers are much further ahead in the marketplace in attribution than the media companies and even the ad agencies.”

This video is part of Beet.TV’s coverage of LUMA Partners’ DIGITAL MEDIA EAST 2019. For more videos from the conference, please visit this page. This series is sponsored by 4INFO.