Hollywood may not have a reputation for embracing new channels, but it’s increasingly clear that new channels have the ability to help Hollywood’s biggest companies succeed as consumers use technology to interact with content in new ways.

This is especially evident in the world of social media. It’s increasingly evident that social channels can impact the small screen, and even though television and cable networks may not fully understand what this means yet, many of them are experimenting and investing in social because they see the potential to benefit.

Now, new research by the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) revealed at the IAB MIXX Conference in New York indicates that Hollywood studios producing content for the big screen should also be excited about emerging channels. According to a study conducted by the IAB’s Mobile Marketing Center of Excellence and InMobi found that some key segments of moviegoers are increasingly influenced by mobile.

A full 75% of those under the age of 35 and 68% of those over the age of 35 polled stated that they use their mobile device to help pick movies to see. Males are more likely to turn to their mobile devices than females for help picking a flick, with 71% indicating that they’ve done so, but at 68%, females aren’t far off.

Mobile as an engine for marketing and commerce

That mobile devices are widely used for research tasks like checking movie times is not entirely surprising. After all, mobile is now practically an ubiquitous research channel for consumers.

But interestingly, it appears that movie studios may soon be able to count on mobile devices to do more than serve as a research tool for moviegoers. Nearly a third (31%) of those surveyed by the IAB and InMobi have watched a mobile movie trailer, and 24% of those classified as “regular moviegoers” have actually used a mobile device to purchase movie tickets, suggesting the likelihood that more investment will flow into mobile as Hollywood studios see the potential for real ROI.

And while a single-digit percentage of moviegoers are using their mobile devices to store virtual tickets, new apps like Apple’s Passbook could soon change that, allowing Hollywood to deliver a full-cycle customer experience through mobile.

Mobile beats social media, for now

Social media may be the darling of the small screen, but it appears that mobile is capable of delivering more star power for film, at least for the time being. According to the IAB’s study, well under half (42%) of respondents under the age of 35 use social media to pick movies, and just a third of moviegoers over 35 do the same.

While those numbers are still significant, mobile’s substantial ability to influence moviegoers serves as a good reminder to all companies: while it may be impossible to compare nascent channels on an apples-to-apples basis, it’s helpful to know which nascent channels seem to have the most potential when it comes time to divvy up investment.