You may have watched that one episode of The Simpsons a hundred times or kept a song on loop, but aside from a general "I like it" why do people keep going back to reruns? Turns out it's about guaranteed results.

For reruns, it is about what is expected. In your favorite song, episode or movie, a person can identify and look forward to certain parts that bring them pleasure. Additional viewings or listenings can also uncover new details or funny nuances and greatly enrich the experience.

Cristel Russell, PhD, from the Kogod School of Business at American University has a name for rerun behavior: "re-consumption." People go back to their favorite episodes and songs because of the familiar results that come from the experience.

For a person's favorite song, they will know all the lyrics or that great guitar solo that comes in at the two minute mark, for a favorite episode, a person knows when the big laughs are about to happen or may realize a new detail that they never saw before or may find a new moment or joke they did not get during the first viewing.

This behavior is especially important for television, note researchers. While a person may own their favorite book or song, television shows make millions of dollars based on syndication. DVD box sets are costly and many fans may buy them, but there is a reason you can catch Seinfeld on three different channels. On syndication alone, Seinfeld has made over 2.5 billion dollars. More recently, The Big Bang Theory set a record of two million dollars an episode for syndication rights.

For business and marketing, it's important to understand the role reruns can play in viewers and that could help them develop products that reward repeat viewings. For consumers, reruns are more than just the opportunity to catch your favorite show or song again.

Nostalgia plays some role in the repeat viewing habits of people but there is more to it than just revisiting the past. Researchers interviewed people from New Zealand and America to gain an understanding about why people go back to their favorite shows. In addition to nostalgia, people cited growth between viewing experiences as another reason. An adult can watch something that loved as a teen, understand what they liked but may also appreciate different aspects of the show now that they are older.

The study was published in the Journal of Consumer Research.