If you can afford to pay a focus puller, its not necessary at all, and will be better than AF for rehearsed scenes or still / slow moving subjects.
However, if you want shallow depth of field for a subject moving at random, like soccer players, or kids, AF is needed.
Those who love HDDSLR video have learned to deal with lack of AF, and use techniques used by filmmakers for the last 100 years or so.
I'm not a fan of someone running theu a scens which is later cut to show only the one second that he is actually in focus, and has no continuity. Movie makers using focus pullers rehearse and practice focusing on quickly moving actors until they have it down precisely.
So, yes, continuous AF is a big deal for many would be video users, but not all.