The Best in Business 2013

An exhaustive cataloguing of the top people, places, products, profits, movies, books, beverages, babies, buildings, turnarounds, albums, aliases, hiring sprees, robots, revolutions, games, fads, sayings, and more.

Best turnaround

GAT09 reed hastings netflix


In a year that saw the last gasp of Blockbuster video-rental stores, the 2011 restructuring by CEO Reed Hastings (No. 5 on our Businessperson of the Year list) was affirmed. By separating his DVD and streaming businesses and forcing many subscribers into a web-distribution model, he pushed the company and its customers into a fast-approaching, all-but-inevitable future. Netflix (NFLX) was well positioned and started 2013 with a bang: Its stock jumped to $160 at the end of January, up threefold from the lows of 2012, and it claimed this would be the year it would double down on original content. Again, an expensive risk, but boy, did it ever pay off. First there was Kevin Spacey in the political series House of Cards (which cost an estimated $100 million) -- a hit that brought in 2 million new subscribers, bringing Netflix's total to 29.2 million, edging out HBO's subscriber number. Then there were Arrested Development, a cult hit resurrected, and the runaway smash Orange Is the New Black. Now Disney (DIS, Fortune 500), the biggest media company of all, is creating four shows based on Marvel superheroes exclusively for Netflix.

--Ryan Bradley

Sources: Amazon; Beverage Digest; Box Office Mojo; Capital IQ; Edmunds; Fact Set; Knopf Doubleday; Nielsen; Thomson Reuters; Wealth -X; Centre for Retail Research; IHS Automotive
  @FortuneMagazine - Last updated November 21 2013 01:33 PM ET
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