“The Hollywood trades have ruled at Cannes and other film markets [in the past],” reports former Variety guy Rex Weiner, “but their dominion has dissipated with the advent of the Internet, and the proliferation of online sources of business information, including leagues of bloggers.

“Cannes advertising revenues for the trades this year are down as much as 20-30%, according to sources at both papers. Between Cannes and the awards season, this downward trend has hit The Hollywood Reporter and Variety hard, and layoffs over the past year decimated the editorial and sales forces on both sides of the street.

One result, Weiner reports, is that Variety “will for the first time in more than a decade be producing its daily Cannes edition entirely from its LA offices, cutting costs by paying overtime to a skeleton crew in LA working a two-week nightshift from opening night to the May 24th Palme d’Or awards ceremonies.

Another is that “of the 15 people the Hollywood Reporter has registered with the festival press office, only four are reporters and two are film reviewers, with editor-in-chief Elizabeth Guider holding down the fort in LA where half the show-daily will be produced.”

“The fact that the venerable entertainment industry trades are sending fewer reporters to Cannes marks the end of one of the juicier assignments in the field of journalism. As this former Variety reporter can assure you, reporting on Cannes from a cubicle on Wilshire Boulevard just won’t be the same as sitting poolside at the Hotel du Cap with a notepad in one hand, a gin-and-tonic in the other, listening to Harvey making deals from the next lounge chair, and watching the latest box-office hottie just over there smoothing on sunblock.”