The global popularity of Korean thriller Squid Game lured more new customers to Netflix than expected in the recent quarter, and now the world's largest streaming service is predicting more growth through the end of the year. After a sharp slowdown in the first half of 2021, Netflix Tuesday said it added 4.38 million subscribers from July through September to reach a worldwide total of 213.6 million… surpassing Wall Street’s expectations. Netflix enjoyed a subscriber boom last year as the health crisis kept audiences at home, but growth stalled in the first half of 2021. At the same time, competitors including Disney+ and HBO Max bolstered their offerings. But then - ‘Squid Game’ came along on September 17… and it exploded… quickly becoming Netflix’s most-watched original series ever in its first month. On Tuesday, Netflix said 142 million households have watched the show. Excitement around "Squid Game" - where characters compete to the death to erase financial debt - has spurred sales of track suits and Vans sneakers, kindled interest in the Korean language and is helping some small businesses catering to the craze. The show is also expected to boost Netflix’s current quarter. Netflix projected it will pick up 8.5 million new customers by year's end, ahead of industry forecasts.