US TV ad spending is forecast by eMarketer to decline by 2.2% through 2019, thanks partly to a lack of big advertising events.

Next year’s presidential election will move the needle back up, but most people agree that TV ad spending is plateauing somewhat.

What can restore positive momentum? Showing advertisers how TV advertising really works, according to one man at the center of doing just that.

In this video interview with Beet.TV, Bob Ivins, NCC Media chief data officer, talks about how new attribution technology allows broadcast platforms to help brands truly understand the linkage between ad viewership and consequential outcomes like website visits, store visitation and eventual sales.

“Digital has had this narrative for the last 20 years,” Ivins says. “We’ve kind of just let it play out in front of us, from a TV perspective.

“Now for the first time, we’re passively collecting … set-top box data, actual viewing data from millions of households.”

Attribution technology comes in various forms. It relies on IP-based viewing devices and tracking for viewers’ consequential actions, including mobile geo-location tracking, all linked by identity resolution that bridges the gap.

Operated by Comcast, Charter and Cox Communications, NCC Media launched in 1981 to provide a common way for ad buyers to get on to disparate and disconnected cable, satellite and now telco networks.

The organization is repeating the effort for the reams of data now available to its owners in digital viewing devices.

“Intuitively, we all kind of know TV works, but now we can measure it,” says Ivins. “We as an industry need to be able to provide these metrics. Otherwise, flat is going to be the new up for a long time.”

He was speaking with Janet Balis of EY’s media and entertainment team.

This video is part of a series from the Beet Retreat in the City, “We’re Going Local!” hosted by GroupM Worldwide and sponsored by Amobee, Comcast Spotlight, TVSquared and WideOrbit. Please visit this page for additional segments.