A survey of telecoms, broadcasting and media executives reveals that only 4% are ‘very confident’ that IPTV will generate significant revenue for their respective industries over the coming year.

Accenture and the Economist Intelligence Unit conducted an international survey of over 300 technology and media company executives involved in or close to the IPTV business.

On average they were only ‘a little confident’ in short-term revenues, but ‘fairly confident’ in the longer term, with 34% reporting they strongly believe that IPTV will be generating significant revenue in three years.

Confidence was lowest among network operators, but equipment vendors and broadcasters or studios were among the most optimistic, reported Accenture.

Surely, they say, not all the world’s largest telecom operators can be wrong about IPTV.

Few companies expect a substantial IPTV impact on their bottom line, they observe. Rather they expect a larger impact on top-line growth. The business logic for IPTV has been defensive on the part of incumbents and aggressive on the part of alternative operators.

Half of those surveyed hoped to establish new revenue streams, and nearly a third expected to acquire new customers, but only a fifth saw driving profit growth through IPTV as their top priority.

Video-on-demand is expected to be the main money-earner, with advertising seen as less of an opportunity, despite the possibility of delivering highly-targeted messages.

With competition from free-to-air television and the open internet, operators will have to be creative to attract customers, not least in pricing. In the short term, the ability to bundle services in discounted packages offers the greatest consumer appeal.

Video-on-demand is seen as the most attractive service to customers, and the paramount revenue generator. However, the survey concludes that industry experience suggests that operators should keep their minds open.

The findings come in the first issue of the quarterly IPTV Monitor available from Accenture. The survey was conducted in April to May 2006 with executives from firms across the value chain in Europe, the Americas and Asia Pacific.