We're seeing everybody under extreme pressure. We've seen only this week an announcement of three newspapers ceasing publication as dailies and becoming weeklies, at a high price. Now, there's a reason for that, because of disruptive technology. Certain things can be done, I think, to control the major players, but in the long run it is just too wide. You know, people can send their blogs from Beijing or from the Cayman Islands and whatever you do, you can't regulate that.
I think you have a danger of regulating -- putting regulations in place which will mean there will be no press in ten years to regulate, and I honestly believe that newspapers and all they mean, mistakes and qualities, are a huge benefit to society. What we have here, and I take some -- I don't want to sound boastful -- some credit for it, the industry was on its knees before the craft unions and 20 years behind the rest of the world and I took a very unpleasant and painful strike for a year, and as a result every newspaper has had a very good run. It's coming to an end as a result of these disruptive technologies.
I could go on a great deal about it. We're spending a lot of money trying to -- and succeeding in presenting every word of our newspapers on modern tablets. There will be -- I would be very confident in saying that in very a short time, less than five years, there will be billions of tablets in the world. Furthermore, I think there would be more billions, maybe twice as many what we call smart telephones. Already some buy newspapers, but other people present the news on a smart telephone.
There's very little cost of entry in that, there's great costs of entry in newspapers. I'm old enough, old-fashioned enough, I don't know about you, I understand that you're one of the few people that like Le Monde, but that's another matter. You also paid a very nice compliment about the Times. I'm repeating a private conversation, I'm sorry.
But I like, and probably a lot of the people in this room, prefer the tactile experience of reading a newspaper. Or a book. And so I think we will have both for quite a while, certainly ten years, some people say five, I'd be more inclined to say 20, but 20 means very small circulations. And the day will come when we'll just have to say, "It's not working, we can't afford all the trucks, we can't afford all the huge presses and so on", and we'll be purely electronic.
As I say, privacy, if you have a telephone, if you have my telephone number of my iPhone, you could find out, if you're here in London, or wherever you may be you could find out wherever I was anywhere in the world any time of the day within 10 feet, because it has in it -- and I think the tablets do, I'm not sure -- a little chip worth $3 or $4 called a GPS.
Now, as far as the press goes, it's only a part of it. It's used for industrial espionage, it's used for law enforcement and it's not going to go away. Particularly industrial espionage which is conducted internationally, and I think that what can be done, certainly with the big players, it is perfectly possible and practical to say: no pornography, no provision of links to confidential intellectual property. This is not a Hollywood Silicon Valley fight. It's been presented, of course, by Silicon Valley. It's an argument with drug companies, with people who do research or whatever. It doesn't take much to click on to Google and find the link. Or other people, I'm sure.
Now, that can be stopped. It would take legislation, but -- and I would encourage it. I'm not saying that there are other people beyond the jurisdiction of the law who wouldn't try to do it, but it is a very, very serious thing.
I would say one more thing, if I may, about the Internet. Not only is it a major source of information, but in this country, we have the BBC, which we haven't mentioned, but is really far the greatest force in media in this country. It does some great broadcasting. It's a very important organisation. But it also has gone online with a news service, which 12 million people in this country watch it, I don't know about every day, but at least every week, probably several days, and feel they've had enough news. That must be affecting -- one of the reasons why newspaper circulations are in decline.
I think more seriously my criticism is it's a taxpayer funded thing we have to put up with, but it has started over the years very good websites with local news in all the major cities of Britain. Those newspapers depended almost entirely or very largely on their classified advertising. That went to the Internet, you can't do anything about that. Specialist employment sites, real estate sites, car sales, et cetera.
But to have the one thing they had, the newspaper -- and some of them have been great newspapers, great histories -- there have been only this week three newspapers, I believe, were announced they were giving up daily publication. There'll be more. And there's nothing more certain.
I don't think it's really added to the diversity of information of the press, and because the -- I was never in it, or very, very slightly, but the local media in this country, the local press, local newspapers, have a great history of contribution to our democracy, and I think it will be a very sad day if the major ones, if all of them, disappear.
So I don't know that they can be saved. They could be saved from the BBC, but that wouldn't be enough, possibly.
We really have enormous disruptive technologies, which is the history of the world, and it's fine, but we have to meet that challenge and try and turn it into an opportunity. For instance, the Times. The problem is we ask people to pay for it, but if it's good enough, they will. There's a lot of -- they're really aggregated to a large extent -- run full news services for free. I don't know how long they can do it. They -- their advertising is rising, they expect it, but so are their costs, and in fact there's more -- there's more advertising opportunities occurring every year, even than there are websites, so the rates stay very low.
But it's a fact of life, and we have to treat it as an opportunity. For instance, the Times of London, seven days a week. We put it on the iPad. We charge for it. Unfortunately, Apple takes 30 per cent, but that's another argument. That can be seen any corner of the world. So maybe there's an opportunity there. Just as your friends at Le Monde can be seen any corner of the world.
There's just -- as I say, I think there are some opportunities. They're not easy. We have a lot of people working at them to make attractive versions of our newspapers. You know, for instance, the Wall Street Journal. Every single word of the Wall Street Journal is a challenge to get through. It's there every day. But we add more photographs, which are of extraordinary quality on the iPad and will get better.
But we're dealing in a very complex world with disruptive technologies, and we're suffering at the hand of those, so when it comes to regulation, I just beg for some care, because it is really a very complex situation. The press today guarantees -- a varied press guarantees democracy and we want democracy rather than autocracy. I think we would all agree with that in this room.