Fayve started out as a way for Allen to manage his own collection of videos, according to GeekWire. His staff, tasked with developing technologies and tools for managing Allen's stuff, created the product for his use and then found it to have a broader appeal. They altered it to make it ready for public use, the report said.
"Paul has probably one of the world's largest private digital collections of movies, music and TV shows. He wants to watch and listen to these things at his fingertips," Chris Purcell, the vice president of technology for Allen's Vulcan Inc. told GeekWire. "We built Fayve to sit on top of his collection, to give him exactly that experience."
The app name, while referencing "favorites," is also an homage to Allen's mother, Faye, who passed away earlier this year, the report said.
Allen founded Vulcan in 1986 as a way to manage his business and charitable efforts. The organization has spawned many companies and advancements, including Charter Communications and film production company Vulcan Productions. Allen invests in more than 50 companies through Vulcan, his Web site says.
Fayve was released in iTunes today. The technology is designed to help users discover films and TV shows. It sifts through a person's own ratings; considers his or her Facebook Likes and Netflix queued items; and considers other factors. Users can also link a Twitter account to view celebrity tweets.
Fayve, set up in a carousel style, pulls content from Netflix, Hulu, iTunes, Amazon, Redbox, YouTube Movies (the same content as Google Play), and Crackle. Fayve notes that it will add new services to keep the database fresh and cover a broad range of content.
The app lets users sort through content using its filters, enabling them to search by actor/actress, program length, content provider, genre, and cost for rental. It ties into social media (or at least hopes to soon), allowing users to see what their friends are watching and view films that friends have given two thumbs up.
Users can also rate what they watch and highlight their favorite content, as well as look up movie showtimes and purchase tickets at nearby theaters. And they also can find reviews about titles, get "juicy tidbits" about Hollywood stars, and access trailers to new movies.
Though the app doesn't cost anything to download, users will still need to have premium accounts with one or more of the video providers, like Netflix, to actually view the content. And for playback, Fayve passes users off to the iPad app associated with the content, such as sending them to the Netflix app to stream content or add a DVD title to their queues.
Here's how Fayve describes itself:
Nothing is more maddening than getting halfway through a movie and realizing you'd rather be cleaning out your closets. The plot was too slow. That fight scene was too cheesy. The dancing animals were really unnecessary. Let's be honest, we don't want to waste our time watching stuff that makes us go "meh."
In 2011, a team of developers set out to create a tool that would put an end to lame movie nights and disappointing television. The result was Fayve, an app that understands exactly what you want to watch based on who you are and what you like. Fayve is where you go whenever you want to be entertained by the sort of content you love.
The company said it envisions people using the app as a second screen to read reviews and look up actors while watching a movie on their big-screen TV; accessing it on the bus or train to kill time during a commute; and tapping it as a tool to get introduced to new shows, among other uses.
One interesting fact to note is that Fayve isn't currently available for Microsoft's operating system, only iOS. That probably doesn't please some of Allen's old coworkers. The company, however, said it's considering versions for devices besides the iPad.
"While nothing is set in stone yet, we've been talking about Android and Microsoft tablet versions of Fayve," the company said in a FAQ on its Web site. "We want to hear what users want and focus on adding in some social features that we're really excited about before we start porting it to additional platforms."